René Olivieri appointed interim Chair of heritage funds

René Olivieri has been appointed interim Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund following Sir Peter Luff’s retirement.

René has been a member of the Board since March 2018 and has chaired the Finance, Staffing & Resources and Investment Committees. He is also chair of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and was previously Chair of The Wildlife Trusts and the Tubney Charitable Trust.

The year ahead

René said: “As The National Lottery Heritage Fund emerges from a hugely successful programme to celebrate the 25th birthday of The National Lottery, there are some further significant milestones in the year ahead. 

"These include the Government’s consultation on The National Lottery and society lotteries and the Gambling Commission’s work on the fourth National Lottery licence, which will shape the future of investment in good causes for the next generation.

“Over the coming months the Board and I will be looking in greater detail at how we respond to upcoming challenges including the climate emergency; how we ensure that an ever-more diverse and inclusive range of people is involved with our heritage; protecting a wide range of heritage at risk; and supporting the sector to develop greater capacity and resilience.

"I intend to always ensure that we put people and their stories are at the heart of everything we do.”

René Olivieri, interim Chair

“There were some particularly eye-catching moments for the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 2019, including the National Gallery’s acquisition of The Finding of Moses by Orazio Gentileschi and the Brontë Society in Haworth’s successful bid to bring back home one of Charlotte Brontë’s rare ‘little books’

"We are now entering the Fund’s 40th anniversary year so we will be celebrating its extraordinary track record and looking at how we can build on this legacy.”

Paying tribute to Sir Peter Luff

René has been appointed as interim chair while DCMS carries out a recruitment process for a replacement for Sir Peter Luff

Paying tribute to Sir Peter, he continued: “Sir Peter Luff played a vital role in supporting the UK’s heritage during his five years as chair of the two funds. 

"He oversaw the culmination of the First World War Centenary programme; strengthened our commitment to nature and the environment; was a tireless champion of diversity and inclusion; and steered us through important organisational changes. 

“Sir Peter is a fantastic advocate for the power of The National Lottery to change people’s lives for the better, and for the National Lottery players who provide the money to make this possible. I intend to continue that legacy and, like Sir Peter, always ensure that we put people and their stories are at the heart of everything we do.”

Passionate about the UK's heritage

René brings a wealth of experience to the role. For many years he was Chief Executive of the international scientific and scholarly publishing company, Blackwell Publishing. 

Today, he designs and delivers courses on innovation, business models and cultural change for senior executives in both commercial and non-profit organisations.

He is passionate about the UK’s heritage and the role it can play in giving meaning to individual lives and in strengthening communities. He has a keen interest in young people and in education, having served on the Board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and been elected to the Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors at Oxford University. 

He has a BA in political science from the University of Oregon, an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and is a widely published author on charitable grant-giving. 

René and his wife, Anne, live in rural Worcestershire.