The Arts Foundation appoints Chair, Saadi Soudavar

The Trustees of The Arts Foundation are delighted to announce the appointment of Saadi Soudavar, who will take over the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees from Howell James CBE, as he comes to the end of his five-year term. 


We are thrilled to have Saadi Soudavar’s expertise on the Board to support our future ambitions as the foundation enters its 30th year in 2023.

Saadi Soudavar is a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank where he runs European Equity Capital Markets. As a long-time supporter of arts organisations and avid art collector, Saadi’s current and previous roles within the culture sector include being a member of the Tate Photography Acquisition Committee, and a trustee of the Soudavar Memorial Foundation, which supports exhibitions, publications and scholars of Persianate culture. He was also a producer of the feature film, Frontier Blues, which premiered in the International Competition at the Locarno Film Festival in 2009, and won the FIPRESCI award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Saadi Soudavar said, “I feel immensely fortunate to be appointed to the role of Chair. The Arts Foundation has been a generous and patient funder of individual artists for nearly 30 years, and it’s an incredibly exciting time to build on the foundation’s phenomenal legacy. There has never been a more urgent moment to support creatives, and I look forward to supporting the Director, Mary Jane Edwards and working collaboratively with the Board to ensure we are truly a national charity serving the interests of artists across the UK.” 

Jonathan Reekie, Director of Somerset House Trust, and trustee of The Arts Foundation commented:  “Saadi is an ardent supporter of the arts and has long supported the work of UK artists and artist-led organisations. I and all the trustees are delighted to have Saadi’s expertise and energy on the Board to support our future ambitions.”

Mary Jane Edwards, Director of The Arts Foundation says: “With Saadi’s appointment, we enter the next phase of the charity’s development with renewed vigour to strengthen and develop new relationships and partnerships with other Trusts and Foundations and supporters. I don’t think we can overstate the precarity of this period, with artists adversely affected by the pandemic who are now facing the cost of living crisis. I look forward to working closely with Saadi and the Board to explore new ways to provide vital financial support for exceptional artists and creatives in the UK. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Howell James for his commitment to the charity and generous stewardship to date.” 

Press Release

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