Former Labor attorney-general and arts minister Gordon Ramsay will be Canberra’s new culture czar, winning out in a highly competitive national recruitment process for the chief executive officer position at the ACT Government’s Cultural Facilities Corporation (CFC).
Chair of the CFC Board Justice Richard Refshauge said Mr Ramsay bought with him a wealth of leadership, administrative, financial and governance experience, as well as a passion for the arts in Canberra.
“Under Mr Ramsay’s leadership, the CFC will play a key role in the development of the new Canberra Theatre Centre and the surrounding Canberra Civic and Culture District, as well as continue to deliver world-class cultural experiences for Canberrans and our visitors,” he said.
“As the former ACT Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events, as well as his experience in leading large and complex organisations, Mr Ramsay is perfectly placed to lead our premier cultural organisation.”
But the appointment could attract criticism of being ‘jobs for the boys’ and that Mr Ramsay is too close to the Barr Government.
Justice Refshauge said it was an exciting time for the CFC as it recovered from the impacts of COVID-19 and looked to the future with optimism.
He also recognised outgoing CEO Harriet Elvin for her outstanding service to Canberra’s cultural sector.
“Ms Elvin has led the organisation as it has come of age as a premier destination for the arts. I sincerely thank her for her 24 years of service,” Justice Refshauge said.
The CFC said Mr Ramsay’s appointment was the culmination of a national recruitment process with more than 20 applications from high calibre, local and national candidates.
Mr Ramsay will take up the role on 13 December 2021.
He is currently the CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform and principal of Gordon Ramsay Consulting.
Between 2016 and 2020 he was a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly for Ginninderra. His portfolios included Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events, Minister for Building Quality Improvement, Minister for Business and Regulatory Services, and Minister for Seniors and Veterans.
Justice Refshauge said the CFC developed, presented and promoted cultural activities across the Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra Museum and Gallery, and ACT Historic Places and was the custodian of many of the city’s treasures. It also supports local artists and arts organisations to grow and develop.