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New Chair of our Board of Trustees - John Ayton

[ News )

Pallant House Gallery has appointed John Ayton MBE as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

John Ayton will begin his term as Chair on 25 March 2022, following the tenure of outgoing Chair, John Booth DL who has recently become Chair of the National Gallery.

John Ayton brings to the Board of Pallant House Gallery extensive business acumen, and a long involvement and interest in the arts.

John Ayton wearing black blazer and blue shirt with yellow hankerchief in breast pocket

Jane Weeks, Vice Chair and Chair of the Gallery’s search committee, comments:

‘After a comprehensive recruitment process, which resulted in a very strong shortlist, we’re delighted that John Ayton has accepted our invitation to chair the Gallery’s board of trustees and to lead us through our ambitious programme for developing the Gallery.

In saying goodbye to John Booth, after 6 years of chairing the Gallery, the board would like to thank him for his outstanding leadership through a challenging time, his commitment, his generosity and his passion for the Gallery and everything it stands for.’


Simon Martin, Director, added:

‘I wish to extend a warm welcome to John Ayton as he becomes our new Chair.

The combination of his experience in business and his passion for the arts will be immensely beneficial for our ambitious plans for the future. I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.

I also join the trustees of Pallant House Gallery in thanking John Booth for his tremendous support and guidance.’


John Ayton announces:

‘As a longstanding supporter of the gallery I am delighted to take on the role of Chair.

With the changing role of museums and the way in which the public want to interact with them there could be no more exciting time to engage with a wider audience whilst seeking a deeper engagement with our existing public.’


John Booth, outgoing Chair comments:

‘I congratulate John on his appointment and know that he will bring enormous energy and a wide range of experience to the role.

I have loved my time as a Trustee of Pallant House with its increasingly significant and thrilling collection, its brilliant staff, volunteers and fellow Trustees.

It is a wonderful and life-enhancing place with an exciting future ahead, and I look forward to continuing my association with the Gallery as a frequent visitor.’



John Ayton studied history at Oxford University before qualifying as a lawyer. He later become an entrepreneur and investor in public and private companies specialising in branded consumer businesses, retail and hospitality.

He has a longstanding interest in the arts and an established relationship with Pallant House Gallery as a Patron and having launched the Gallery’s first Development advisory group in 2007.

John was Chair of the Cass Sculpture Foundation until 2018 and subsequently co-founder of The Sculpture Partnership, which holds an important 20th century British sculpture collection.

He has extensive experience of fundraising, for business development and in the not-for-profit sector, including the London 2012 Olympics and Royal Court Theatre.

John has lived near Chichester for over 25 years.

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