David Sibbald OBE named as GSC chair
21 November 2016
Technology entrepreneur Dr David Sibbald OBE has been announced as the new Chairman of Glasgow Science Centre. The well-known entrepreneur will take over from Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of Strathclyde University, who has stepped down after six successful years as Chairman. The board hope that the appointment of another leader from the business world will help to maximise the commercial opportunities for the Science Centre, attract additional investment to enhance the visitor experience and support the executive team to deliver their vision of a world-class Science Centre.
In the six years under Sir Jim’s chairmanship, the Centre has been able to grow its engagement programme to reach even more people across Scotland and the north of England than ever before. Under his stewardship, the Centre re-opened the iconic Glasgow Tower and worked in partnership with the private and public sectors and academia, to open Powering the Future, a multi-million-pound exhibition which has drawn in record number of visitors. In this time, the Centre has also invested in a new state-of-the-art planetarium that has opened up new opportunities for people to come and engage with the Centre through its innovative ‘Planetarium Lates’ events and Saturday Astronomer Club. More recently, the Centre improved the visitor experience by investing in a new cafe.
It is this type of commercial leadership and insight which the board hope to benefit from as Dr Sibbald takes up his post as Chairman. Glaswegian Dr Sibbald is currently the executive chair of Aridhia and board chair of Sumerian – two growing tech companies. He has a great deal of experience of bringing his entrepreneurial experience to third sector organisations and is the founder and trustee of the education, care and micro-enterprise children’s charity the Kate MacAskill Foundation, and also the founder and chairman of the Johari Foundation.
Glasgow Science Centre chief executive Dr Stephen Breslin said: “The Centre is a charity with a mission to make science accessible for everyone. To maintain our momentum and to keep the Centre relevant in this fast-paced and commercially volatile world, we need a chair that can guide the board and provide an entrepreneurial business focus to our activities to ensure that the Centre will be able to invest in its ambitious growth plans.
“David is not only highly engaged with what we are doing, but is very driven in helping us achieve our ambitions. Improving our relationships with the science and technology sectors will further our credentials as one of the leading centres for engaging the public in the world around us and demonstrates our expertise in communicating complex information and data in compelling and exciting ways. We are looking forward to working with him as we move into this exciting new phase for the Centre.”
On his appointment Dr Sibbald said:
“I like that the Science Centre helps to democratise science. The Centre is more than just a visitor centre – it will draw people through who might otherwise be ‘turned off’ or ‘scared’ of science. I believe that this outstanding venue will play a key role in driving forward education around the need to attract more people into STEM subjects and engaging kids, parents and teachers is part of that.” said David.
“This is a really exciting time to join the team at the Glasgow Science Centre with lots of interesting plans in the pipeline as a visitor attraction and in increasing its corporate engagement. We need to keep the Centre relevant, and I am looking forward to getting my sleeves rolled up to move our plans forward to secure further funding and buy-in from external sources. It is vital that we engage with global industry and link with academics to offer them the opportunity to inform and engage the wider public in their work through the Centre’s skilled science communicators.”
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