Simon Chaplin to step down as Director of Culture and Society at Wellcome

Simon Chaplin is stepping down from his role as Director of Culture and Society to take up a new position as CEO of Arcadia. He will be leaving Wellcome at the end of August. 

Simon Chaplin
Credit: Thomas S.G. Farnetti / Wellcome

Arcadia is a charitable fund set up by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, which spends around £80 million a year supporting conservation, endangered cultural heritage and open access. Simon will be its first CEO – the role has been created because Arcadia is growing in scale and impact.

Simon Chaplin said: "I'm excited to be joining Arcadia and working with Lisbet, Peter and the team to build on the success of the past fifteen years. I will bring to the role the insight and experience I have gained while working at Wellcome and with the incredible people here. Wellcome has shown how foundations can be a force for profound, sustainable and inclusive change in the world, and I feel privileged to have been part of this for the past ten years."

Simon joined Wellcome ten years ago as Head of Wellcome Library. His successes include leading a digitisation programme that has made more than 40 million pages from the collections freely accessible to users around the world, and the creation of the Reading Room.

As Director of Culture and Society, Simon has brought Wellcome Collection together as a world-leading museum and library. He has found a brilliant Director in Melanie Keen to lead the museum into its next phase. He has also overseen the development of our open research programme, and new strategies for public engagement, education, and humanities and social science.

Simon has sponsored Wellcome’s diversity and inclusion programme since its inception and has supported the team to put this work at the heart of Wellcome's culture.

Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said: "I have appreciated hugely what Simon has done for Wellcome. I will be sad to see him leave and will miss his leadership and advice. I believe that the quality of the roles that our alumni move on to should be one of the yardsticks by which we measure our success – Simon’s appointment is a great achievement both for him personally and for Wellcome as a whole. It’s a brilliant match for Simon’s skills and experience after a decade of remarkable achievements at Wellcome."

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