Julie Finch appointed Hay Festival CEO

Hay Festival Chair Caroline Michel is delighted to announce the appointment of Julie Finch as Chief Executive Officer of Hay Festival. The appointment was made on behalf of Hay Festival’s Board of Directors after an extensive nationwide recruitment process. 

A registered charity, Hay Festival is one of the world’s best known cultural events, bringing readers and writers together around the world with programmes to inspire, examine and entertain. 

As CEO, Julie will be responsible for leading a new organisational strategy, enhancing the organisation’s national and international standing, reach, impact, engagement with existing and new audiences, and its long-term sustainability. Based in the Festival’s head office – The Drill Hall in Hay-on-Wye, Wales – Julie starts her role in August 2022. 

With over 20 years’ experience in the cultural and creative sectors, Julie’s leadership roles include CEO of The Cheltenham Trust, Project Director of Boola Bardip Western Australian Museum and Director of Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives Service and, most recently, CEO-Director of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, where she has developed and led the revisioning programme and the 10-year strategy. 

Hay Festival chair Caroline Michel said: “We are delighted to appoint Julie Finch as CEO of Hay Festival and welcome her vast experience as we continue to forge an exciting future here and further afield. With a proven track record of strong leadership, effective strategy development and widening cultural participation, Julie will open a thrilling new chapter for Hay Festival and our industry more widely.”

Julie Finch said: “As a Hay Festival regular over many years, I am pleased to be joining the charity as it continues to deliver world-leading events and reimagine the role a Festival can play in our cultural landscape and contemporary society. I am grateful to the board for their trust in my vision and look forward to working with the whole team as we plot a future that’s both daring and sustainable.”

Last month, Hay Festival unveiled the full programme for its 35th spring edition in Hay-on-Wye, with more than 500 in-person events over 11 days, 26 May–5 June 2022. Tickets are on sale now here.