Joanna Baker is to step down as Managing Director of the Edinburgh International Festival at the end of the year. Joanna has been Managing Director since 2006. She joined in 1992 as Marketing and Public Affairs Director and has since led the growth and development of the organisation across communications, programming, finance, governance and general management. She played a major role in the establishment of Scotland’s first audience development agency, The Audience Business (now Culture Republic), Festivals Edinburgh, which she chaired for its first three years, and the Edinburgh International Culture Summit.
Beyond the International Festival, Joanna continues to play a major role in Scottish cultural life. She is the Chair of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, a Trustee of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation, and served as a member of the Scottish Arts Council from 2000 – 2006, chairing its Dance Committee from 2000 – 2004 and serving as Vice Chair in 2005/2006. She is a former board member of the Scottish Ballet, the British Arts Festivals Association, the Court of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and the Festival City Theatres Trust.
Festival Director, Fergus Linehan said ‘It is hard for all of us who know and love the International Festival to imagine it without Joanna. Although she has been with the organisation for many years, her enthusiasm, creativity and courage have never waned. She is a formidable impresario, an outstanding leader of people and a great friend.’
Chairman of the International Festival Board of Trustees, Niall Lothian said ‘On behalf of the Trustees I would like to thank Joanna for her unparalleled contribution to the International Festival. We will miss her leadership, wisdom and energy very much, but are happy that we will have the opportunity to bid her farewell throughout the 2018 Festival season.’
Joanna Baker said ‘Over my tenure at the International Festival I have had the pleasure and the privilege of working with three Festival Directors and an amazing group of colleagues, Trustees, artists, supporters and funders. I will leave knowing that the International Festival is in robust health and in great shape for the future under the directorship of Fergus Linehan and an incredibly talented team. With nearly seven months to go before I step down, this is not the time for goodbyes or the moment for reflections on the past 26 years, other than to say that I am proud to have played a part in sustaining and developing this extraordinary organisation.”
The International Festival Board of Trustees and Executive will begin the recruitment process for the role shortly.