News Story

Francesca Hegyi OBE appointed as Executive Director of Edinburgh International Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival today announced the appointment of Francesca Hegyi OBEas the incoming Executive Director. Having previously studied and worked in Edinburgh, Francesca returns to the city to join the International Festival in February 2019.

Francesca Hegyi has worked in culture and the arts for more than 20 years. Most recently she was Executive Director of Hull 2017 UK City of Culture where she secured major funding and partnerships to deliver 2,800 events across 365 days, reaching over 95% of all Hull residents, creating over 800 jobs and adding more than £300 million to the local economy. Francesca was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2018 for this work.

Francesca’s career began at the Science Museum in London before working as a policy adviser for the Scottish Museums Council in Edinburgh. She moved on to become Head of Regions and International at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, until 2005, when she joined the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games as Senior Adviser. Here she was responsible for developing the delivery framework for the UK-wide cultural programme, leading fundraising and commercial partnerships for the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, a £126m programme which engaged with more than 43 million people over the course of 4 years as well as working with more than 40,000 artists.

Following the 2012 Games, Francesca became an affiliate at King’s College London’s Cultural Institute where she led the first Cultural Enquiry into Culture and Major events, exploring how to maximise the benefits and enhancements that cultural activities and programmes can bring to major events.

Festival Director, Fergus Linehan said “We are delighted to welcome Fran to the International Festival in this important leadership role. Fran has a strong connection with our city and has a reputation for delivering work of an international standard that creates lasting value in the communities in which it is performed.”

International Festival Chairman Niall Lothian said “On behalf of the board of trustees of the International Festival I would like to welcome Fran. She emerged from an outstanding field of candidates and we are confident she will make a significant contribution to the Festival in the lead up to our 75th anniversary in 2022 and beyond. I would also like to express the board's enormous gratitude to Joanna Baker who has performed this role with distinction for the past twelve years.”

Francesca Hegyi said “I feel privileged and excited to have been appointed as Executive Director at the Edinburgh International Festival, joining Fergus and such a brilliant team. I first experienced the International Festival as a student in Edinburgh nearly 30 years ago and have watched and admired its growth since then. As well as being the cultural highlight of the year, it plays a vital role in the life of the city, for residents as well as the many visitors it attracts. I can’t wait to help shape the next chapter of its future. Joanna has set an incredibly high bar during her tenure and I feel lucky to be joining a company in such good health.”