UK: new chief executive named for National Glass Centre

A new chief executive has been appointed to run the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, northeast England. Vicky Nicholls will take up the GBP 55,000 a year post on 12 May 2003 from Jules Preston, wh…

A new chief executive has been appointed to run the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, northeast England. Vicky Nicholls will take up the GBP 55,000 a year post on 12 May 2003 from Jules Preston, who has been running the centre on a part-time “temporary basis” since 2001. The search for a new chief executive began in October 2002. Mrs Nicholls, who will be responsible for the NGCs GBP 1 million a year budget, is currently head of marketing and business development at the Fair Field Theatre Group in London. Nicholls said her first challenge would be to raise the profile of the National Glass Centre around the UK. The appointment of Mrs Nicholls follows difficult years for the NGC, which was opened in 1998 to celebrate Sunderland“s glass heritage. A lack of funding in 2002 led Mr Preston to warn the centre was facing a “slow lingering death.” Sunderland City Council and Northern Arts agreed to support the centre with grants of GBP 250,000 a year until 2006, helping to assure the future. The balance of the GBP 1 million a year running costs are met with GBP 650,000 from the NGC restaurant, and corporate sponsorship. Visitor numbers also failed to come up to expectations. More than 100,000 visitors came through the door in the first year, but that dropped to 65,000 a year since 2000. The NGC was built on the banks of Sunderland“s River Wear to show off the city“s long tradition of glass-making. The University of Sunderland, which has a riverside campus adjacent to the NGC, also bases its glass, architectural glass and ceramics department in the attraction.