Darren Henley OBE
Arts Council England chief readied for the role by a stellar quarter century at Classic FM.
Darren Henley OBE cut his teeth in the media world as a freelance radio journalist in the early 1990s. By 1995 he’d joined Classic FM full-time, and rose through the ranks as the fledgling station grew its audience to more than 5.5 million people every week.
He spent 15 years heading Classic FM, picking up the ‘UK Station of the Year’ prize at the Sony Radio Academy Awards and the Sir Charles Groves Prize for his “outstanding contribution to British music”, as well as an OBE for services to music.
His two independent government reviews into music education (2011) and cultural education (2012) made a comprehensive argument for arts and cultural education in school to fuel a worldclass creative economy.
These saw the creation of new networks of Music Education Hubs and Heritage Schools, the Museums and Schools programme, the BFI Film Academy and the National Youth Dance Company. In 2015, he became chief executive of Arts Council England, leading a team who champion, develop and invest in artists, museums, libraries and arts organisations right across England.
Henley has also written more than 30 books. His latest Creativity: Why It Matters argues that creativity boosts our economy, empowers our communities, enhances our education system and enriches our everyday lives.