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LEEDS 2023 chair stands down

The chair of Leeds Culture Trust, which is responsible for delivering the LEEDS 2023 year of culture, is to stand down from the voluntary post to pursue professional creative and business interests.

Ruth Pitt took on the chair’s role in 2019 after Leeds City Council decided to continue with plans for a year of culture despite being prevented from progressing its bid to become European Capital of Culture by the outcome of the Brexit referendum vote. She was responsible for setting up the trust as an independent organisation and helped recruit the senior team as well as laying the foundations for the festival’s scale and ambition, assembling a board of trustees and building partnerships with numerous organisations across the city and wider region.

It’s this heavy workload that has persuaded Ruth to stand down from chairing LEEDS 2023 now that it has launched its new Letting Culture Loose campaign and started the countdown to January 1st 2023.

“I’m really sad to be moving on”, Ruth says, “but I always said that I could only do the job if it didn’t impact too greatly on my working life and sadly there simply are not enough hours in the day to meet my professional commitments and lead the Leeds Culture Trust at the same time. I have lived with Crohn’s Disease for over twenty years so I also need to consider my own health and wellbeing. Culture can be transformative, so we need LEEDS 2023 now more than ever for the benefit of our communities, who deserve something really special after such a terrible year.”

Frank Finlay, vice chair of LEEDS 2023, says: “As a leader in her field with a very impressive track record of professional achievement, Ruth Pitt has been able to draw on her extensive knowledge of the arts and culture sector to play a key role during her time as Chair of Leeds Culture Trust. This included a period as Acting CEO when she undertook a broad portfolio of activities and helped to encourage and nurture a number of initiatives which will feature in the eventual artistic programme. Everyone involved in LEEDS 2023 is to be thanked and congratulated on the recent successful launch of the “Letting Culture Loose” campaign with its striking visual identity. As the project now enters the next phase of its development, Ruth leaves the Trust well positioned for the future and with our sincere thanks for her enthusiastic commitment, sheer hard work, and all she has contributed during her time as Chair.  We wish her well for the future and the best of good luck with all her ongoing and exciting new projects.”

Ruth continues as chair of the steering group for the proposed National Poetry Centre headed up by Yorkshire based Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

Work to begin recruiting a new Chair is now underway.