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Corporate governance

The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation has appointed a very talented board of trustees who bring an enormous range of talents to the oversight and strategic direction of the charity, and will help it to achieve its objectives over the next few years. Some are from a City business, legal or accountancy backgrounds, others are senior marketing professionals, academics or individuals with a particular knowledge of running successful cultural organisations. All are passionately committed to the objectives of the Foundation and to the creation of a European style 'poetry house' at No 8 Royal College Street, and are freely giving their time to their board responsibilities.

The Board

Iain Burnside

Iain is a distinguished Scottish pianist, specialising in song repertoire. He is also an award winning broadcaster, who regularly programmes high quality classical music events with leading vocalists, and with partners such as the National Opera Studio. He is the author of several musical plays including A Soldier and a Maker, based on the life of Ivor Gurney, premiered in 2012. Among many other things he teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the Barbican. Fascinated by the poets Rimbaud and Verlaine, Iain brings to the charity not only talents as a pianist and arts organiser, but exceptional connections in the world of classical music, in particular the worlds of opera, song and advanced musical education. 

Flora Anna Cipullo

Flora Anna is a university administrator at Goldsmiths, University of London. Flora Anna has previously worked across many facets of the education sector. As well as her experience as a member of the R&V volunteer community, and an event manager for the charity, she brings good connections in the university and education sector. As a Camden resident, she is keen on developing R&V's connections in the area and she is an advocate of the importance of the arts in education. Flora Anna is a long-time supporter of the independent cinema, music, theatre and visual art scene in London.

Steve Cousins

Steve is a business school executive specialising in innovation and business development. Formerly at London Business School, where he introduced MA students to the Boards of both R&V and its sister organisation, he now works as an innovation consultant at Imperial College Business School. Steve brings an interest in business innovation, collaboration and new funding models for the arts. Originally coming to London to study dance, Steve has a strong belief in the power the arts can deliver for individual development, local community and society in general. 

Sara Dixon

Sara is a qualified solicitor, who practised for six years in commercial litigation, with a specific interest in environmental law.  After gaining an MBA, set up her business Firm Beliefs and she now advises law firms, social enterprises and charities on enhancing their profitability and effectiveness. She also specialises in developing the business and management skills of all those who work in organisations - whether in technical and professional roles or in administrative and managerial roles. She is a member of the Law Society, the Chartered Management Institute, and Chartered Institute of Management Consultants and a Fellow of the RSA. Sara is a founder of the Firm Elite network, bringing together individuals who enjoy learning from those in sectors other than their own. She was a founder member of the Finance Against Trafficking project for STOP THE TRAFFIK and was a trustee of TocH. Sara grew up in Poland, Switzerland, Kenya, Malaysia and Pakistan and has always been interested in how art, music, words and play can break down boundaries in a diverse world. She is particularly interested in how the arts can make a positive, life-enhancing and direct impact on those in society who would not normally have access to, or an interest in, the arts, particularly the young and those on the edges of society. Sara brings professional experience of corporate governance in the charitable sector, as well as a range of business and legal skills.

Rachel Foss

Rachel Foss is Head of Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts at the British Library. She joined the British Library in 2007 and was Lead Curator of Modern Literary Manuscripts prior to taking up this role in 2014. She has curated several exhibitions at the British Library including  ‘In a Bloomsbury Square’: T.S. Eliot the Publisher in 2009 and Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands in 2012. She has a Master’s degree in nineteenth century literature from the University of Manchester. As well as her experience as a member of the R&V volunteer community, Rachel brings considerable experience of cultural events management, of working with creative practitioners through residencies and commissions, and of generating innovative ways of engaging diverse audiences with cultural heritage, including via digital platforms. She is committed to the social value of the arts and believes that the arts have a crucial role to play in social cohesion and in creating aspiration and opportunity. As well as being a leading research, educational and cultural institution, the British Library is a key stakeholder both in the Knowledge Quarter in development around King’s Cross, the Euston Road and Bloomsbury and in the Camden area where the ‘poetry house’ is situated.

Patrick Hubert

Patrick Hubert is a partner at Clifford Chance. He works with the anti-trust, public law and environmental law groups in the Paris office. He has published various articles on administrative law (in particular, on expropriation), on antitrust and environmental questions, and is the author of a report about the future of justice in EuropePatrick Hubert is a graduate of ENA, and . previously worked at the "Conseil d'Etat" (the French administrative Supreme Court) and at the office of "Directeur Adjoint du Cabinet" (Deputy Head of Staff) at the Ministry of Justice. He was later "Rapporteur Général" (General Counsel) at the "Conseil de la Concurrence", the French antitrust regulatory authority.

In May 2002, he became "Directeur de Cabinet" (Head of Staff) to Mr Dominique Perben, the Minister of Justice, and in April 2004, Advisor to Mr Serge Lepeltier, Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development.

David Hunter

David was a member of the original campaign to save the property at No 8 Royal College Street. He has a degree in French and History. He has worked at senior levels in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors as a housing manager, business consultant and marketeer. More recently he has focused on researching and writing about innovation in the use of digital technologies. He therefore brings a wide range of ideas and experience of good management practice to the Foundation. Outside of his work, David has a continuing interest in French poetry and song. He has authored a guide on French versification for singers, published by Oxford University Press, and in 2015 his book Apollinaire in the Great War was launched by Peter Owen Publishers.

John F Kennedy

John is a specialist in brand protection at Wildbore & Gibbons LLP, one of the oldest firms of Trade Mark Attorneys in the UK, established in 1887. A Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (FIDM), he has particular expertise and experience in intellectual property strategy, management and branding. His expertise encompasses professional services marketing and management - across the full spectrum of business change and growth - from systems development, strategy development to business development planning. He is particularly interested in business culture change, mentoring and supporting the business development process. John has a particular interest in cross cultural communication, branding and marketing and is a regular speaker on Brand Protection and IP strategy at the UK’s two Intellectual Property Institutes - the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) and to the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) He also speaks regularly about client services and marketing – focused on the practical, cultural and psychological elements of the branding, marketing and client service process. He brings to the R&V Board his specialist business experience of intellectual property, brand protection and institutional marketing, together with a great interest in market research and how business development initiatives integrate with traditional networking and social media channels. He is also enthusiastic about using the arts, culture and sport as educational initiatives.

Laurent La Bouchardiere

Laurent is both British and French. Laurent is studying for his MBA at London Business School. Prior to LBS, he worked for Centrica, the UK’s largest energy supplier, on the development of their renewable energy business. Prior to that, Laurent worked for KPMG in London for four years, where he worked in their Transactions & Restructuring practice advising clients in a wide range of industry sectors. He holds a degree in Economics from the University of St. Andrews. Laurent brings significant financial and business expertise as well as strong interests in Anglo-French cultural exchange and non-profit board governance.

Erica Malcomson

Erica is Head of Classics at La Sainte Union School, a state secondary school in Camden. As well as her experience as a member of the R & V volunteer community, and an event manager for the charity, she is an experienced educational professional, with excellent knowledge of the curriculum and educational needs. As a Camden teacher and a local resident, she also brings excellent local knowledge and connections. She has a long-standing academic and personal interest in European literature, music and film

Nauman Akbar Mangi (Finance Trustee)

Nauman is a qualified accountant with a wide range of experience of Compliance, Risk, Audit and Business Development. This includes extensive experience and knowledge of best practices within Internal Audit, Transformational change strategies, financial reporting, financial management and strategy. During the course of his career he has also developed collaborative relationships within Functional & Operational teams, utilising a naturally consultative character to develop, maintain and enhance interactions with a variety of stakeholders at all levels to successfully achieve the organisation's objective. Business development and operations experience gained in a number of industries with a focus on governance, risk, and compliance services to assist multinational businesses. As the Finance Trustee of R&V he brings a strong set of accountancy skills. Nauman is also keen to learn more about the arts, and to give something back to society through supporting the arts and education.

Bertrand Montembault

Bertrand is a senior energy lawyer with Herbert Smith Freehills in Paris. He has a great personal interest in French poetry (mainly 20th century). Although he knows less about the poets Rimbaud and Verlaine, he is eager to use this is the opportunity to learn more. He is also a member of the Marcel Proust Society, and is always aware of the need to create new links, especially cultural.

Catherine Morel

Catherine is currently a Professor at Audencia Business School in Nantes in France where she lectures in marketing and arts management. Further to her PhD (University of Sheffield) which explored the motivations behind Corporate Support of the Arts, she has developed expertise in the relationships between arts and business.  She looks forward to bringing her enthusiasm and practical skills to the board. She sees the Foundation as a great opportunity to return to French poetry and develop its influence in other fields (such as management). As a French national having lived for a long time in the UK, she is also keen to establish bridges between the French and the British culture.

Yannick Naud

Yannick has over 20 years’ experience in the financial industry working in France, Japan and the United Kingdom. As an expert on European economic issues he is also a leading commentator in the UK media on Eurozone events. He has a Master’s degree at Dauphine University in Paris and a degree in European Studies from Ecole Nationale d’Administation (ENA). Yannick is heavily involved in European affairs and is a keen advocate of breaking down barriers and promote cooperation and exchanges. He brings valuable experience in business and finance, and a personal interest in the modern Entente Cordiale, French poetry and the arts.

Thomas Venning (Chair)

A founding Trustee of R&V, since July 2015 Thomas has been Chair of the Board. Thomas has been an important contact of Poet in the City since 2003, and has been responsible for working with that charity on a number of important poetry events at Christie’s in London. Thomas is one of the UK’s leading specialists in manuscripts and archives, and regularly handles high profile auctions of such artefacts – including letters and manuscripts of Rimbaud and Verlaine. Formerly based in Paris and London, he now heads up the Books and Manuscripts Department in the London branch of Christie’s. Thomas used to live near the R&V house in Camden, and in view of his long-term fascination with writers’ houses is particularly delighted to be involved in this exciting project.

Susan Walton

Susan E. Walton is a former investment banker (including ABN-Amro and Barings) where she pioneered many internet-based applications that are now standard in the financial industry. She is now principal at London based Frost Consulting where she is a specialist consultant in semantic search and digital content management and commission management for many leading investment banks and asset managers. Susan is also the Director of CapX, the first free-market focused digital news and commentary service from the British think tank, The Centre for Policy Studies on whose main board she serves. Susan has also co-founded and achieved public stock market listings for two start-up technology companies in the US and the UK. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Susan has also served as a Board member on several charitable organisations and social enterprises, and is committed to both education and the arts.  She brings her wide knowledge of the financial industries, business start-ups and digital development.


Our Chief Executive

Graham Henderson is a qualified solicitor, who formerly worked as a commercial litigation lawyer at Clifford Chance. From 2003-2014 he was full-time Chief Executive of Poet in the City, a leading poetry organisation which he established. He has been involved since 2007 in the campaign to create a ‘poetry house’ at No 8 Royal College Street and was instrumental in setting up the Foundation. 

The Foundation is a Company Limited by Guarantee with Company Number 7559463. Charity Commission number 1157063.