Sir Ciaran Devane is the chief executive of the British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. He has been serving in this position since January 2015.
The British Council promotes a wider knowledge of the UK and the English language by encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational cooperation with the UK in over 100 countries.
Previously, he was the non-executive director of NHS England in Leeds, the UK between 2012 and 2015.
Devane served as chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support from 2007 to 2014. During his tenure, he transformed the scale and impact of the charity. Consequently, he led Macmillan to be the UK’s “Brand of the Year” in 2014. And in 2015, Devane received a knighthood for his services to cancer patients.
In September 2018, British Health Minister Simon Harris announced Devane as the first chairperson of the new board of the Irish health service, the Health Service Executive.
He started his career as an engineer and manager for Imperial Chemical Industries before becoming a management consultant, mostly with Gemini Consulting. He specialized in complex change programs with companies such as AstraZeneca and Rolls Royce.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemical engineering from University College, Dublin. He obtained a master’s in international policy and practices from George Washington University, Washington, DC, and a degree of doctor of science (honoris causa) from University College Dublin.
In a previous interview with Arab News at the Creative Futures Forum in Riyadh, Devane said that the British Council wanted to broaden the horizons of young Saudis by adding art to their education.
He said the council wants to give young people in the Kingdom different opportunities and turn STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math) into STEAM with the introduction of art.
Devane praised Vision 2030, saying: “What is great about the approach is that it is focusing not only on the creative cultural side but also the technical and infrastructure side. For the creative sector to be sustainable you need both.”