Royal Institution appoints Director of Finance and Resources

The Royal Institution has appointed Ian Smith as Director of Finance and Resources.

A photograph of  Ian Smith standing in front of a hedge

The Royal Institution has appointed Ian Smith as Director of Finance and Resources.

Ian joins the Ri from UK Community Foundations (UKCF) – the membership organisation for the UK’s 47 Community Foundations, which have awarded over £1 billion to charities and community groups – where he was Director of Finance and Operations. Prior to joining UKCF, Ian was Head of Financial Planning and Performance at the Worldwide Fund for Nature and has also served as a trustee at the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

In his new role, Ian will lead the Finance, IT and Ri Premises teams, building on recent successes in stabilising the Ri’s finances during the ongoing pandemic, enabling more agile working and increasing accessibility to Ri activities, and in the maintenance and operation of the Ri’s historic Grade-I listed home in central London.

Ian will join the Ri in mid-April, replacing the current Director of Finance and Chief Operating Officer, Michael de Crespigny, who retires in mid-March after nearly seven years at the Ri.

Sir Richard Sykes, Chair of the Royal Institution, said: “This is a very important appointment for the Ri and underpins all of our charitable activities. The teams Ian will lead are central to the efficient running of the Ri, to our core strategic objective to maintain and grow our financial stability and to the success of our public engagement activities.

“Ian has a strong track record of strategic leadership across finance and operational activities, gained in both the charitable and commercial sectors. I’m delighted that he will be joining us at the Ri.

“I must also pay tribute to our Current Director of Finance and COO, Michael de Crespigny, who has expertly managed the Ri’s financial performance and many commercial operations during seven successful years at the Ri. Most recently he has been instrumental in securing the financial future of the Ri after our income was severely impacted by the necessary Covid-19 restrictions. All of us at the Ri wish Michael the very best for the future.”

Ian Smith said: “While the Covid-19 pandemic has clearly had a very detrimental impact on the Ri’s operational capacity, it is financially stable and continued to grow last year in key areas such as its digital activities and Science in Schools Programme. There is clearly strong demand for its charitable science education and engagement programmes.

So I am delighted to be joining the Ri as it develops its new organisational growth strategy, building on its expanding programmes before the pandemic, with new activities and more agile operations developed over the past two years.”

Ian has been appointed at the Ri as it begins development of a new five-year strategy, following a period of growth in meeting its core mission, in spite of the pandemic. In 2021 the Ri further grew its nascent programme of livestream talks, delivered more free Science in Schools visits to schools in disadvantaged areas than in any other year, and successfully developed online series of its famous Masterclasses, which it intends to maintain alongside in-person workshops to increase accessibility.


For more information please contact Robert Davies in the Ri press office:+44 (0)20 7670 2991 /