IT’S all change at the top with the announcement that a new chairman is taking over at the helm of Bletchley Park Trust.
Chairman of five years, Sir Francis Richards, will hand the baton on at the beginning of next year.
The former director of the Government Communications Headquarters will be succeeded by Sir John Scarlett, the former chief of the Secret Intelligence Service.
Since Sir Francis replaced Sir Christopher Chataway as chairman in 2006, Bletchley Park has come a long way.
The Trust has overcome years of unsustainable losses to become a thriving business and tourist attraction with the means to be able to invest in its development.
Annual visitor numbers to the wartime home of the Codebreakers have increased from 47,000 to 130,000, cementing the huge increase in public recognition of Bletchley’s role in the Allied victory.
Confirmation of the Trust’s leadership change comes less than two weeks after a the Queen’s historic visit to Bletchley Park. The monarch unveiled a public memorial to those who served at the Park and its outstations and praised their contribution.
She said: “It is impossible to overstate the deep sense of admiration, gratitude and national debt that we owe to all those men and, especially, women.”
Sir Francis will be stepping down to take on the chairmanship of the Imperial War Museum.
He said: “My time as chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust has been enormously rewarding and I am deeply grateful to the dedicated staff, trustees, volunteers and benefactors who are responsible for the progress we have made in those five years.
“There is still a great deal to do before the Park is all that it can and should be, but when I hand over the chairmanship to Sir John Scarlett – an appropriate choice, given that it was one of his predecessors as ‘C’ who bought the Park for British Intelligence – I can be confident that Bletchley Park has a future worthy of its past.”
Sir John Scarlett is already an existing trustee and welcomes the challenge of his new appointment.
He said: “It is a great privilege to be asked to succeed Sir Francis Richards as chairman of the Trust.
“Together with all who work at Bletchley Park and contribute to its success, we will continue our mission to transform this historic site into the unique heritage and education centre it deserves to be to reflect this great achievement of British Intelligence and its profound impact on the outcome of the Second World War.”