Kew Foundation appoints Oliver Shiell to replace Michael Murphy

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) has appointed Oliver Shiell as the new chief executive of the Kew Foundation, an independent charity arm raising funds for Kew's work.

Prior to joining RBG Kew, he was the founding executive and head of Europe for Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. 

He said: "I am really thrilled to be joining the Kew Foundation.  I was inspired to join this globally renowned organisation by its remarkable combination of scientific vision underpinned by a truly world class team. It is a place of questions, solutions, reflection and discussion, which has a world leading contribution to make to transforming our understanding of the importance of plants for humanity. "

Marcus Agius, chair of the Kew Foundations Board of Trustees said: "This role is vital to the Foundation and Kew and I am delighted Oliver will be joining us. He is an experienced fundraiser and has worked at Board level for over a decade. His experience is international in scope, including China, Europe, Middle East, India and the USA, establishing and maintaining relationships with major funders, government, business and society. I am confident he will lead the Foundation with passion and build on the success achieved to date."

Sheill's career to date has also included director of development and corporate eelations at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.  As a member of the University’s leadership team of the "Oxford Thinking" campaign, he worked with colleagues, donors and corporate partners to secure £1.25 billion of philanthropic and corporate investment. He has 15 years' experience in major gift fundraising, business development and cross border partnerships.

He is a member of the Board of the China-Britain Business Council, London Symphony Orchestra and a founding trustee of Social Bite, a social enterprise supported by Bill Clinton, Richard Branson and George Clooney.

He replaces Michael Murphy who spearheaded the £100 million Breathing Planet Campaign. Murphy will be taking the role of chief development officer for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington D.C.

Throughout the Breathing Planet Campaign, funds have been secured to support a number of different projects, including the restoration of the Temperate House and the expansion of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. They are also earmarked for future projects, such as a new Children’s Garden, due to open in 2017.

Murphy said: "It has been a tremendous honour to lead the Kew Foundation through our successful £100 million Breathing Planet Campaign and work with some of the most caring, thoughtful and passionate people around the world. I return home to America safe in the knowledge that Kew’s leadership will ensure the future of this globally significant scientific resource for plant conservation and one of Britain’s most beloved institutions."

Agius added: "Michael leaves a remarkable legacy; over £100 million raised in five years together with the outstanding team he has built up and who now will work with Oliver. He has played a vital role in his time here at Kew, his contribution to the organisation has been tremendous thanks to his steady leadership and passion. He has been a terrific colleague and he will be much missed. We wish him well in his next post."

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