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Corporate governance

Graham Henderson - Our Chief Executive
A successful arts leader and cultural entrepreneur, Graham has extensive experience of developing and curating exciting multi-disciplinary arts programmes. He personally secured the gift of the property at No 8 Royal College Street and established the Foundation to take advantage of it. Before becoming the CEO of the Foundation in 2014 Graham spent 11 years as the CEO of Poet in the City, an organisation which he founded as a separate charity in 2006 and led to National Portfolio funded status in 2010. He developed this organisation as one of the UK’s most exciting arts organisations, a successful ‘mixed funding’ model combining corporate sponsorship, earned income and grant funding. An inspiring leader and manager, he has an extensive network of arts and business contacts which he uses for the benefit of the Foundation. A former senior City solicitor with experience of working on high value matters with banks, corporates and new media clients, he also brings extensive knowledge of the law and business to the role of CEO. Finally, as an experienced public speaker and ideas leader he specialises in creative entrepreneurship and innovation in the arts.

The Board

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 which is playing an important part in helping it to achieve its objectives. Some are from a City business, legal or accountancy backgrounds, others are senior marketing professionals, academics or individuals with a particular knowledge of working in schools or universities. 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.

Steve Allen
Steve is an experienced CFO in large operational and project delivery organisations, specialising in infrastructure. From 2015-2018 he was CFO at HS2, before that he was Managing Director in charge of finance at Transport for London. His background is in treasure function and finance at organisations including Abbey National and Citigroup, in aviation and a senior civil servant at the Department of Transport. A qualified accountant and a graduate of INSEAD, Steve also has a PhD in Pure Mathematics. In the arts, Steve is also the finance Trustee of the Gabrieli Consort, one of the UK’s leading baroque music ensembles.

James Butters
James is a partner specialising in private equity at Clifford Chance LLP in London. He has a long track-record of working in commercial and contentious legal affairs and management. He was formerly a barrister at Fountain Court Chambers between 1994-99, moving to be a solicitor at Clifford Chance in 1999. Between 2011-14 he was working as a partner at Clifford Chance in France. He is fluent in Italian and proficient in French he has a great interest in French music and literature from the Belle Époque. His interests include sports, history, art and architecture and music.

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.

Andrew Clyne
Andrew has more than twenty years’ experience in executive search and advisory services specialising in technology, clean tech, and related industries. Andrew has completed assignments across all functions including CEO, Chairman, and NED. Clients range from spinouts and entrepreneurial high-growth early stage businesses to Corporates looking to build new lines of business and innovate. He also works closely with a number of VCs and Family Offices helping them to grow their businesses by leveraging his extensive network.

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.

Asli Kutlucan
Asli is a hotel development professional who has worked in the global hospitality for over 25 years. Specialising in full & limited service and extended stay hotels acquisition, negotiation and execution of deals, focusing on the UK and continental Europe. Since joining Cycas Hospitality in 2011, she has been responsible for the acquisition, negotiation and execution of deals across the UK and continental Europe, including overseeing the hotel openings and technical services team. Previously Alsi has a long career in hospitality, managing luxury hotels and developing hotel business. Asli established the Akilah Institute in Rwanda in 2010 and worked there for a while as a lecturer providing of higher education for the future female leaders of Rwanda, young women are part of the generation that has suffered the consequences of the 1994 genocide. Originally from Turkey, Asli was educated in French and also brings to the Board her interest and knowledge of the arts and of LGBT issues. She was also, until recently, Trustee and Treasurer of Frontier Imaginaries, an arts charity based in Holland.

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 was until recently 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

Gordon McAllister
Gordon McAllister is a solicitor-advocate and an associate in Crowell & Moring's London office, where he is a member of the International Dispute Resolution and Antitrust Recovery practice groups. Gordon represents clients in both commercial and investment arbitration. In addition, his practice involves a wide variety of commercial litigation in the English High Court, including the pursuit of antitrust claims. As well as his legal work Gordon is an active supporter of the arts, and came to R&V via the Arts & Business scheme for sourcing talented younger Board members.

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.

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 former 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.

Seth Whidden
Seth Whidden is Professor of French literature and Fellow of Queen’s College, Oxford, and is a leading expert on the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine and their place in the history of 19th century literature. His first book was entitled Leaving Parnassus: The Lyric Subject in Verlaine and Rimbaud explores the new movement they represented in French poetry. His second book, Authority in Crisis in French Literature, 1850–1880, explores how tensions from the Second Empire and the 1871 Paris Commune were reflected in the theatre, poetry, and short stories of the years that followed. Seth has also edited several collections of essays and critical editions/translations. Finally, as the editor of the important journal Nineteenth-Century French Studies, he possesses a comprehensive knowledge of his period. He has recently completed a new biography of Arthur Rimbaud. As a distinguished expert on Rimbaud and Verlaine Seth ensures that the Foundation draws on the very latest research into their artistic world.

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