Change of helm at museum

The Hong Kong Maritime Museum (HKMM) has announced the appointment of international shipping and education executive, Richard Hext, as its new chair with effect from Tuesday, the 4th of August 2020.

Hext, a long-time Hong Kong resident, is a non-executive director of Anglo Eastern Univan Group and of Swire's Singapore-based China Navigation Company, and is chairman of Vanmar Shipping. He is also a governor of the University of Central Lancashire in the UK and a member of the Hong Kong advisory board of Stanford University’s graduate school of business. He is a past director of John Swire & Sons (HK), chief executive of Hong Kong-listed Pacific Basin Shipping and chairman of Univan Ship Management. He holds an MA in modern history and economics from Oxford University and maintains an avid interest in the maritime history and culture of China and East Asia.

The new chairman succeeds Ian Shiu who, in turn, has been proposed to succeed as chair of the Endowment Trust after five years as museum chairman. During Shiu’s tenure, the museum broadened its financial base, strengthened its links with government and increased visitor numbers. Shiu also oversaw the execution of several exhibitions, including The Silver Age and East Meets West.

Hext commented, “What a story! Fishing village calls itself ‘Fragrant Harbour’ and reinvents itself – first as a shipping and trading centre, then as world champion east-meets-west financial centre. The museum tells us how all this happened, helping us anticipate our future and what else the sea has in store for us. The museum is already a phenomenal success story and I am very excited about this chance to help it realise its potential.”

The HKMM also has advanced plans for a new marine science educational facility within the existing site at Pier 8 on the Central waterfront. “If properly implemented, this proposal will substantially broaden the scope of the museum whilst also increasing our visitor numbers, our profile and our educational impact,” said Hext who regards the HKMM as an outstanding example of a public private partnership for community good.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Richard Hext as chairman of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and believe his background and extensive experience in shipping and education offers us the perfect attributes to advance our ambitious plans,” said museum director, Richard Wesley. “I am grateful for the efforts of Ian Shiu as well as CC Tung, chairman of the HKMM Trust, in ensuring a smooth transition and bringing in Richard to help us build our future,” said Wesley.

The Hong Kong Maritime Museum is an independent, non-profit registered charity supported by the shipping industry, the business community, private individuals and the Hong Kong SAR Government. It is a cultural institution that tells the story of Hong Kong’s relationship with the sea, including the trades between Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta and beyond. The museum opened its door to the public at Murray House in Stanley in September 2005 and relocated to Pier 8 on the Central Waterfront in 2013. Today the museum displays over 1,200 items in 15 galleries, attracting about 130,000 visitors annually.

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