Executive Team Biographies

Below are the biographies of the members of the Executive Team.

Duncan Wilson black and white photo

Duncan Wilson OBE

Chief Executive

Roles and responsibilities
Duncan became Chief Executive of the newly formed Historic England in May 2015.

Previous experience
Duncan joined Historic England from the Alexandra Park and Palace Trust where he was Chief Executive from 2011 to 2015. From 2002 Duncan was Chief Executive of the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College, and before that Director of the Somerset House Trust.

Duncan’s first job as a chartered accountant in 1987 was as Senior Management Accountant at English Heritage. Before accountancy he worked as a professional archaeologist in Oxford and Herefordshire, following post graduate research in European Archaeology.

External roles
Duncan has been a trustee of the Churches Conservation Trust (2008-2017) and a trustee of the Royal Armouries (2007-2011) and a community governor of Corelli College in Greenwich (2004-2007).

Black and white image of Meryl Hayward

Meryl Hayward

Director of Corporate Services

Roles and responsibilities
Meryl has overall responsibility for delivering high quality and cost effective support services to our customers. Our services include:
- Finance
- Procurement
- Human Resources
- Office Estate and Facilities services and
- Information Management and Technology
We also provide shared services to English Heritage Trust.

Previous experience
Meryl is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy and holds an MBA.

Meryl joined Historic England (formerly English Heritage) in 2009 as Finance and Procurement Director.

Meryl has experience of working in both the private and public sector. Previously she has held senior finance roles in the NHS and in Non-Departmental Public Bodies. Her last role before joining English Heritage was as Chief Accountant for the Natural Environment Research Council.

External roles
Meryl sits on the Natural Environment Research Council Audit and Risk Assurance Committee sub group on Governance. She has also been an Audit Committee member in another Council and held Charity Treasurer roles in the past.

Picture of Claudia Kenyatta

Claudia Kenyatta

Director of Regions

Roles and responsibilities
Claudia oversees Historic England’s work in the regions, where we offer expertise and advice and build the effective partnerships that help us to explain, protect and care for the historic environment.

Previous experience
Claudia joined Historic England in September 2018 as Director of Regional Delivery.   Prior to that, Claudia worked in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, where her roles included Head of Heritage, Head of Ceremonials and Director of the Digital Economy Unit.  Her last role before joining Historic England was as Corporate Strategy Director.  Before joining DCMS, Claudia worked in a variety of roles in the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now MHCLG).

External roles
Claudia is a Trustee of Lauderdale House.

Black and white portrait Ian Morrison

Ian Morrison

Director of Policy and Evidence

Roles and responsibilities
Ian Morrison was appointed Director of Policy and Evidence at Historic England to help shape the future direction and strategies of the organisation and lead the delivery of its specialist services, strategy and central listing and research functions. As a key member of the Executive Team, Ian is finding new ways to champion and protect England’s historic environment and to maximise its value to the public. 


Previous experience
Ian was previously Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) where he successfully expanded the charity’s advice, grants and loan services to help meet the growing demand of enterprising communities wishing to repair and re-use historic buildings they value. Prior to joining the AHF, Ian was Head of Historic Environment at the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), where he held the lead UK policy role for the historic environment and introduced and directed a number of HLF’s grant programmes. His early career was spent with Historic England (formerly English Heritage), where he amassed 15 years’ experience working in a variety of roles in London and the South West. Trained as an archaeologist, Ian has undertaken numerous archaeological excavations across the UK and the Middle East.

External roles
Ian is a former serving member of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust Advisory Panel, the FWW Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund and the DCMS-sponsored Cultural Development Fund Advisory Panel.

Photo of Sarah Ryle

Sarah Ryle

Director of Communications and Public Engagement

Roles and responsibilities
Sarah leads Historic England’s Public Engagement group, overseeing the media, marketing, content, digital, campaigns, philanthropy, imaging, archive and education teams. She is responsible for shaping strategy so that Historic England connects with the public and builds partnerships with the creative, cultural and education sectors so that our work to champion and protect the historic environment is more effective.

Previous experience
Sarah has held senior strategic and leadership communications and content roles at Tesco and London Business School. Having gained a history degree, Sarah trained as a local newspaper journalist in Bath and then worked for The Guardian and The Observer, where she was a senior correspondent specialising in business and consumer affairs. Her last role before joining Historic England in January 2019 was Director of Content at London Business School.

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