Executive Board

Directors' biographies

John Barnes - Chief Executive, Historic Royal Palaces

John Barnes became Chief Executive in 2017. He was Conservation and Learning Director from 2001 responsible for the care of the six palaces and the collections, their presentation, interpretation and learning activities, as well as strategic leadership of site developments. He has led the development of the distinctive public engagement programmes, for which the charity is well-known, and transformational changes at each of the palaces.

John joined Historic Royal Palaces from English Heritage where he had been the Director responsible for professional services and then for major projects. Before that he had practised as an architect with a succession of leading conservation firms.

He is an alumni of the Getty Leadership Programme (2005), has taught on the Danish Museums Leadership Programme and mentored on the UEA Leadership course. He is currently a Trustee of Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and Chair of DEMHIST ICOM, a committee of the International Council of Museums, concerned with historic house museums. Since 2008 he has been a Governor of Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ Academy.

Gina George - Retail and Catering Director

Gina George joined Historic Royal Palaces as Retail Director in December 2008 with responsibility for all areas of retail activity, covering the onsite palace shops and online sales via our website. Since July 2014 Gina’s role has expanded to include all aspects of the catering activities across the palaces.

An important aspect of Gina’s work is the development of exciting and interesting products that customers not only want to buy but which also provide them with memories of the palaces and their visit. She also oversees the organisation’s e-commerce activity and its growing licensing programme.

Gina started her career at Marks and Spencer where her roles involved store operations, buying and merchandising. This was followed by a move to Lillywhites, where she was promoted to Buying and Merchandising Director, and subsequently to Kickers where, as Apparel Director, she successfully developed and created their brand name clothing and accessory collection. Prior to joining Historic Royal Palaces she was Head of Retail and Admissions at the Zoological Society of London.

Paul Gray - Palaces Group Director

Paul Gray joined Historic Royal Palaces in August 2011 as Palaces Group Director for Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace (including Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, the Royal Kitchens and the Great Pagoda – all within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). He is responsible for all visitor services and front of house operations, the management and maintenance of the palaces and their grounds and estates, and the functions and events held there.

In 2009, he became Deputy Director for Turner Contemporary – the new build £17.4m contemporary arts gallery in Margate – where he was responsible for all marketing and communications, commercial activity, finance, visitor services and facilities management. He was instrumental in co-ordinating the successful launch of the Gallery in April 2011.

In 2004 Paul joined the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as Event Sales and Marketing Manager, until promotion two years later to Head of Venue Hire and Commercial Events, responsible for all income generating events at both Kew and its sister organisation, Wakehurst Place, in West Sussex. He started his post-university career in arts marketing, working for performing and visual arts organisations, including the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the V&A Museum. For three years, he was co-director of an events production company. He is a non-exec member of the Cathedral Council of St Paul’s Cathedral and a Trustee of Chelsea Physic Garden Enterprise Ltd.

Sue Hall - Finance Director

Sue joined Historic Royal Palaces in July 2016 as Finance Director, responsible for advising and supporting all areas of financial and business decision making.

Sue was previously Director of Resources at a large Mental Health Trust in the South West and has spent ten years at senior board level positions across the NHS. Prior to this, Sue held various roles in both the public and private sectors including higher education, car rental and local government.

Sue is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is a Trustee of The Choral Foundation, The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace.

Richard Harrold OBE - Tower Group Director

Dick Harrold joined Historic Royal Palaces in February 2004, taking up the appointment of Head of Security at the Tower. Six months later was promoted to become Deputy Governor. In April 2011 he was appointed Tower Group Director.

Prior to retirement from the Army in 2003, Colonel Dick Harrold worked in Army Corporate Communications, developing the ‘Image Strategy’ for the Army, media operations capability and managing various PR campaigns. Before that he had worked in Headquarters Northern Ireland as the principal staff officer for all personnel, logistic and estates matters. That followed two years as an instructor at the Joint Services Command and Staff College where he was employed by the Foreign Office to develop and deliver training packages on Peace Support Operations for allied and Commonwealth armies.

Between 1995 and 1998 he commanded the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, which included leading them on six months of active operations in West Belfast. Prior to command he had been in charge of the Operations and Deployment branch at Headquarters Northern Ireland, for which he was made an OBE.

He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals.

Graham Josephs - Human Resources Director

Graham Josephs joined Historic Royal Palaces as Human Resources Director in November 1999, shortly after the organisation became an independent charity. Graham’s remit was to lead a major culture change and organisational development programme to enable Historic Royal Palaces and its people to meet the challenges of its new environment.

Having successfully guided the organisation through these changes, Graham is now responsible for leading the strategic development of staff capability, performance and engagement in line with Historic Royal Palaces’ cause. Along with his team, Graham is enabling the organisation to continue attracting, retaining, developing and empowering high calibre staff needed to achieve its cause and strategic aims. Graham is also Executive Sponsor of HRP’s Digital Transformation Programme and Chair of Trustees for HRP’s Defined Benefit Pension Scheme.

Before joining Historic Royal Palaces, Graham spent a long and varied career with the international leisure group, Wembley plc. His roles included Human Resources Director of Wembley Stadium Ltd and Group Human Resources Manager, Wembley plc. Graham began his working career as a professional cricketer and represented British Colleges in the UK and on tours to the West Indies.

Graham is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and regularly sits on Investor in People Recognition Panels.

Tom O'Leary - Public Engagement Director

Tom O’Leary joined Historic Royal Palaces in 2017 from The Science Museum Group where he had been Director of Learning, responsible for engaging audiences, both young and old across the four national museums of the Group. Prior to this he was Head of Public Engagement and Learning at the Houses of Parliament for 8 years. This was preceded by working in The National Archives for 10 years in various roles, culminating in Head of Online and Education. He started his career teaching History in a comprehensive school.  

Tom is responsible for creating distinctive HRP experiences to convey the essence of each site, motivating people to visit and revisit, and ensuring that the organisation continues to be recognised for high quality, distinctive and transformative engagement and learning. This is achieved through providing inspiring and memorable experiences for all our visitors, including school groups as well as for wider audiences offsite and online.

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has been a trustee and advisor to a range of organisations including the RAF Museum and Culture 24. Currently he is a member of the Council of Reference for Education for Westminster Abbey. Tom founded TEDxHousesofParliament in 2012, and is now Director of TEDxLondon. He has directed and curated eight TEDx events to date, the talks from which have been watched online over 7 million times.

Adrian Phillips – Palaces and Collections Director

Adrian Phillips joined Historic Royal Palaces in 1993 and has held a number of posts including Maintenance Manager for the Palaces Group, Project Team Leader and, between 2003 and 2017, Surveyor of the Fabric. Before that, he had practiced as a Chartered Building Surveyor with a number of companies in private practice.

Adrian is responsible for the care of the six palaces and the collections and for their enhancement, ensuring that they continue to be fit for use and better presented. In support of this, he is responsible for major projects, research, information management and the development of a new Masters course in Heritage Management.

He has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Building Conservation from the College of Estate Management (1997) and is an alumni of the Windsor Leadership Programme (2015). Currently he is an External Examiner on the MSc Building Surveying course at Kingston University.

Dan Wolfe - Communications and Development Director

Dan Wolfe joined Historic Royal Palaces in 2014. He is responsible for promoting the six palaces as outstanding visitor destinations and for raising the profile of Historic Royal Palaces as an independent charity.

Dan has spent the majority of his career working in the cultural sector. Immediately prior to joining Historic Royal Palaces, he was Director of Members, Art and Media at the Royal Horticultural Society, where he was responsible for promoting the four gardens and many flower shows, a growing membership and the Society’s publications, sponsorship and commercial venue hire businesses.

From 2003 to 2008 he was the Marketing Director for English Heritage and prior to that worked in business development at the Science Museum and as a marketing manager at the Millennium Dome.

Dan is a governor of Frank Wise School in Banbury and an advisor to the Banbury Museum Trust.

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