Contact announces Dil Sidhu as the new Chair of the Board

Contact announces Dil Sidhu as the new Chair of the Board


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Contact has announced the appointment of Dil Sidhu as the new Chair of the Board. He takes over from Charles Lauder, who steps down after 9 years.

Dil Sidhu is Chief External Officer at Alliance Manchester Business School at The University of Manchester where he is responsible for key commercial relationships and stakeholder engagement. An alumnus of London Business School and Harvard University, and with experience gained from the retail, government and professional services sectors, Dil has taught on executive education and MBA programmes across the world since 2005.

Contact is the leading national arts organisation placing young people’s decision making and leadership at the centre of the organisation. Young people work alongside staff in deciding the programme, act as board members, and are integral to making staff appointments. The recruitment of board chair was no different, with Dil interviewed by a panel of young people.

Heather Carroll, one of the young panellists, said:

‘Dil seemed like a perfect fit for Contact because he truly cares about nurturing young people's careers, whether it be in business or in the creative context. He believes in Contact and so we believed in him.’

On the appointment, Matt Fenton, Chief Executive and Artistic Director commented:

‘We are incredibly excited that our young people’s panel has confirmed Dil Sidhu as the next chair of Contact. In Dil we have found someone impressive, skilled and highly engaged with Contact's mission to empower young people through art. We are especially pleased to have his guidance as we enter the next exciting phase of our development with building refurbishment and relaunch on the horizon. Our thanks go out to Charles Lauder, our inspirational outgoing chair, who has done so much for the staff, artists and young people at Contact.’

Charles Lauder has been Chair of the Board since 2007, taking over from Wyllie Longmore. Before becoming chair, Charles previously served on the board as a trustee from 1997 to 2004. During his tenure, Charles has overseen the confirmation of £3.85m of funding from Arts Council England toward a £6.5million refurbishment of Contact, due to begin in April 2017.

On his tenure and the new appointment, Charles Lauder said:

‘These have been challenging times for arts and culture organisations. Contact has been a beacon of innovation and endeavour throughout, thanks to the creativity and energy of the young people at its heart. Funders, partners and supporters have demonstrated a commitment to our capital renovation programme that fittingly validates our achievements. We can be optimistic as we seek to secure the next 20 years of development for the young creative leaders of the future.

'It has been a privilege to be a part of this amazing journey – a truly rewarding experience. Dil Sidhu is an outstanding appointment as Contact embarks on the next period of transformation.’

On his appointment Dil Sidhu said:

‘I am humbled, honoured and excited about the election to Chair of Contact’s Board.  Contact is an integral catalyst to develop, nurture and present young talent to Greater Manchester and around the world.  The work that has been done to date by Matt Fenton, Charles Lauder, the Board members and the great team at Contact has been instrumental in creating an innovative and artistic entity for the benefit of budding young talent and the communities that they represent.

'This is going to be a great learning journey for me but also a fun and personally rewarding endeavour!’

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