Geoff was appointed Chairman in September 2020, having served as deputy to his predecessors Robin Andrews and Richard Shephard. He became involved with the Festival because of its formidable artistic reputation regionally, nationally and internationally and the opportunity to help it grow and prosper. Born in Hull and with a first-class honours degree in Politics at the University of Sheffield, he spent 30 years with Glaxo, later GlaxoSmithKline, finishing as global Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications.
He served also as Chairman of Music for Youth, organisers of the School Proms, spurring a lasting commitment to increasing musical opportunity for young people. For the last 20 years he has combined consultancy with trusteeships and council memberships in academia and the arts, notably Opera North (12 years) and the University of Leeds (9 years) where he remains a member of Court.
He is also a trustee of Quadram Institute Bioscience. Geoff lives in Easingwold with his wife Sarah and they have two children and two grandchildren. Musical tastes span string quartets through opera and jazz to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – who one day, he hopes, will be persuaded to appear at the Ryedale Festival!