Harriet Elvin resigns as Cultural Facilities Corporation CEO

Harriet Elvin
Having headed up the Cultural Facilities Corporation since its establishment in 1997, Harriet Elvin has led major projects including the completion and commissioning of The Playhouse at Canberra Theatre Centre. Photo: Alexandra Orme.

It was announced yesterday that after 24 years in the role, Chief Executive Officer of the ACT’s Cultural Facilities Corporation, Harriet Elvin, will step down to pursue academic research in cultural leadership.

The Corporation is a statutory enterprise of the ACT Government that manages the Canberra Theatre Centre, the Canberra Museum and Gallery, and three historic places: Lanyon, Calthorpes’ House and Mugga-Mugga.

Having headed up the organisation since its establishment in 1997, Ms Elvin has led major projects including the completion and commissioning of The Playhouse and the Canberra Museum and Gallery, the Library and Link Project, major conservation programs at the historic sites, and the initial stages of the new theatre project.

Her achievements have been recognised through awards including a Centenary Medal, recognition as ACT Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame at the ANU’s College of Business and Economics, and selection as one of the 100 inspiring women in Canberra’s history, in the UN Women’s 100 Years 100 Women initiative in Canberra’s Centenary year, 2013.

Ms Elvin said it’s been an “extraordinary privilege” to serve for so long in a role that has been “so rewarding”, and that she is excited by the opportunity to study in a field of great personal interest.

“This role has allowed me to combine my personal values with my professional life, to work with people who are passionate about what they do, and to provide rich cultural experiences to the community,” she said.

“It is always hard to move on from such a rewarding position.  But I have an exciting opportunity to do research in my area of particular interest.” 

Ms Elvin said a major focus of her role in recent years had been to develop the next generation of arts leaders and, as a legacy to the organisation, she would establish a fund so that she could personally support professional development in cultural leadership.

In announcing Ms Elvin’s resignation, Chair of the Cultural Facilities Corporation, Richard Refshauge said the move is “truly the passing of an era”.

“As the Corporation’s first and only CEO to date, she effectively and securely established it as a leading institution in Canberra,” he said.

“She assured its place as a cultural leader in Canberra and beyond, inspired committed staff and enabled Canberrans and more to be enriched by its cultural, social history and historic preservation.

“We thank her for her stellar contribution; we will desperately miss her charm, good humour and reliable and expert guidance, but wish her well in the next phase of her wonderful life.”

The CEO position will be advertised nationally in the near future and Ms Elvin will stay on in the role while the new CEO is recruited.

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