Professor Joe Smith will replace the Society’s current Director, Dr Rita Gardner CBE, who decided last June to step down from the position after 22 years at the helm.
Currently Professor of Environment and Society and Head of Geography at the Open University, Joe has worked with a broad range of stakeholders from academia, business, policy and the media on a series of interdisciplinary research and public engagement projects.
The Society’s President, Nicholas Crane said: “We are delighted to welcome Joe to the Society and look forward to starting work with him. His experience as a geographer working with people from across and outside the geography community will stand him in good stead for the role of Director of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
“Rita has been an inspirational leader of the Society over the last two decades and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all her work in developing the Society and raising the profile of geography during this time. She leaves behind a world-leading, innovative and welcoming organisation that is an influential and effective advocate for the discipline.”
Talking about his appointment, Joe said: “I am thrilled to be the incoming Director of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) – the breadth and scale of the Society’s reach is extraordinary and makes this a rare and compelling role. The Society is well positioned with an ambitious and comprehensive strategy in place, a loyal membership base and secure finances. I look forward to building on these foundations and taking the Society on to the next phase of its illustrious history.”
There will be a four week hand over period starting on 16 April, during which time Joe and Rita will work closely together to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. There will also be various opportunities for Fellows, members and other stakeholders to meet Joe.
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