News | April 13, 2024

Sir Roly Keating to Step down as Chief Executive of the British Library

British Library

Sir Roly Keating

After 12 years as Chief Executive of the British Library, Sir Roly Keating has announced that he will step down from the role in April next year.

“When I took on this role in 2012 it was always my hope to serve for 12 years," said Keating, who previously had a long career at the BBC as a programme-maker and broadcasting executive. "I will reach that milestone in September this year. Being at the helm of the British Library has been and continues to be the greatest privilege of my life. The Library is an extraordinary institution, and it is impossible not to feel a daily sense of wonder at the collective dedication, knowledge and passion of its staff, and the sheer scale, depth and quality of its collections.

"The years I have served here have seen great achievements as well as times of challenge, including a global pandemic and a major cyber attack. Over the next 12 months my priority is to ensure that our recovery programme succeeds in its goal of leaving the Library even stronger and more resilient than it was before, able to serve new communities and new generations of users, and to continue to be a national library that is truly for everyone.”

The last dozen years has seen the establishment of major new partnerships including the Knowledge Quarter around the British Library's London HQ, the Business & IP Centre National Network and the Living Knowledge Network of public and national libraries across the UK. Digital initiatives have included Save Our Sounds to rescue and digitise the UK’s audio heritage, and Living with Machines, a research programme in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute. A programme of major capital developments has included the renewal of the Library’s campus in Boston Spa, Yorkshire.

Most recently, Keating has led the launch of a new strategy, Knowledge Matters, and the Library’s response to the significant cyber attack which took place in October 2023.

Dame Carol Black, Chair of the British Library Board, said: “Roly’s clear-sighted and compassionate leadership has helped the Library to steer a steady course of growth and engagement through often turbulent times. As well as presiding over a massive expansion of our digital collecting, he has also overseen a transformation in our public engagement programmes.”

The British Library Board has begun the process of recruiting Keating's successor.