The Prime Minister has approved the appointment of Dr Michael Dixon as the new Director of The Natural History Museum, to succeed Sir Neil Chalmers.
Sir Neil has been elected Warden of Wadham College, Oxford.
Dr Dixon said, 'I am delighted to be joining The Natural History Museum.
The Museum has sustained a level of excellence in important areas of scientific research and established an enviable reputation for innovative and imaginative exhibit design as a leading visitor attraction. My role will be to encourage the further development of these competencies in the next phase of the Museum's evolution.'
Dr Dixon, 47, is currently Director General of The Zoological Society of London, with responsibility for London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, alongside the organisation's worldwide conservation activities and its scientific research. At ZSL he has spearheaded a £60 million project to develop a major conservation aquarium in the London Docklands area, and has unified the scientific and visitor-facing activities of the organisation. He will join The Natural History Museum later this year.
Before taking up his position at ZSL, Dr Dixon worked for twenty years in the scientific, technical and medical publishing industry with Pitman, John Wiley & Sons and most recently the Thomson Corporation. These positions followed a BSc in Zoology from Imperial College and a DPhil from the University of York.
Commenting on the appointment, Sir Keith O'Nions, Chairman of the Trustees of The Natural History Museum, said, 'I am delighted to welcome Michael Dixon as Director of the Natural History Museum. He has the perfect blend of experience to further enhance the Museum's status as a world-class scientific institution and leading visitor attraction.'
Arts Minister Estelle Morris added, 'Sir Neil Chalmers has done a fantastic job, helping The Natural History Museum to become an institution of international renown. I know that Michael Dixon will build on this. His experience and expertise make him an ideal person to steer the Museum through the opportunities and challenges ahead.'
Sir Neil Chalmers, the current Director of the Museum, said, 'I have enormously enjoyed the fifteen fascinating years I have spent at The Natural History Museum. With the launch of the Darwin Centre, the Museum is entering one of the most dynamic phases in its 122-year history. I wish Dr Dixon every success in taking the Museum to the next stage of its development.'
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Notes for editors
MUSEUM VISITOR INFORMATION
If you would like to interview Dr Dixon or Sir Keith O'Nions, request images or further information, please contact:
Kristy Jones, Sarah Hoyle or Mairi Allan
The Natural History Museum Press Office
Tel: 020 7942 5654
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (not for publication)
Issued 9 January 2004