The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced today, Wednesday 12 February, that Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea will step down from his role as Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society’s board in August 2020.

Tim, who was Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh for 15 years until 2017, has served two terms on the board (the maximum a Fringe Society Chair can serve) since joining in August 2012. 

An open recruitment for a new Chair is now underway, with an emphasis on encouraging applications from a diverse range of backgrounds. The closing date for completed applications is 1 May 2020. 

The appointment will be made at the 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Fringe Society in August, for an initial period of four years.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “Aside from being a passionate advocate for the Fringe and its founding principle of freedom of expression, Sir Tim O’Shea has steered the Fringe Society through some of its most exciting developments. 

“From deepening our roots in the city through our community and schools partnerships, to providing an exceptional platform for artists from across Scotland and the UK to have their work showcased to the world, Tim’s legacy is a professionally run charity that balances both the vital local identity of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a global reputation for culture. On a personal level, it has been a pleasure for me and the team at the Fringe Society to have Tim’s support, insight and leadership. We know he will be a lifelong friend.

“As we embrace a new future, the Fringe Society is looking to encourage applications from a diverse range of backgrounds to ensure it properly reflects the communities it serves.”
Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Fringe Society Chair, said: “It has been an absolute honour to serve as Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Board of Directors for the last eight years. 

“To play a part in the world’s greatest arts festival has been fantastic. There’s no place in the world quite like Edinburgh in August, and I’m proud to have been part of a Society that has inclusivity and accessibility at its heart. 

“Though I am stepping down in August, I look forward to seeing the work the Society does for communities in Edinburgh and beyond continue to blossom. Under the superb leadership of Shona McCarthy, I have no doubt the Society will continue to work hard to make the Fringe the best possible experience for all who take part and attend.”

For more information about the role of the Chair, the board and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, download the full recruitment pack(.pdf).

download Chair role recruitment pack