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ABRSM Chief Executive decides to move on

2 years ago

Michael Elliott had decided that he would step down from his role as Chief Executive of ABRSM in 2021 to focus on new personal and professional priorities and has subsequently agreed to leave earlier than planned, at the end of December 2020, to assist ABRSM to effect a timely succession.

Michael has been Chief Executive for 6 years and overseen substantial growth in exam entries, the enhancement of the organisation’s brand, reputation and wider contribution to music education, its digital and organisational transformation, the launch of new qualifications including the remote assessments developed and launched at pace this year. Michael will be succeeded by Chris Cobb, until recently Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of London.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Tony Hales, Chair of Trustees, said “I would like to thank Michael for his enormous contribution to the development of ABRSM and music education more widely. He is greatly respected for what he has achieved and the way he has achieved it. Our partners in the Royal Schools and the many students supported by ABRSM have benefitted considerably during this time from the financial support, they have received from the organisation. ABRSM is now well placed to continue its transformation to support its continued development in the UK and International markets.

Chris will aim to build on the very sound foundations laid by Michael. Chris has a very strong background in leading edge technology and in promoting education around the world. Chris has also impressed us with his deep-rooted appreciation of music and its importance in a rounded inclusive education.

Michael Elliott commented, “It has been an honour to lead ABRSM through an intense and rapid process of change and transformation over the last six years. The passion, professionalism, friendship and achievements of ABRSM’s staff, examiners, local representatives and music teachers have been a constant source of inspiration as has the remarkable musicianship of our candidates, alumni, and scholars. I wish Chris and our worldwide ABRSM community every success in continuing to build on the foundations laid over the last 131 years. The learning and teaching of music is more essential than ever to the education of individuals, the well-being of society and the economies of nations.”

The Heads of the four partner Royal Schools of Music expressed their joint thanks, “Michael’s six years of leadership of ABRSM have contributed greatly to our institutions, especially the ability to offer opportunities to young musicians from all over the world so that they can develop their musical skills and careers in the UK and beyond and allow us to remain world leading. We wish him well for the future.”

Upon confirmation of his appointment Chris said, “I am very grateful for all that Michael has achieved at ABRSM and for the solid foundations he has laid toward a new digital era for the charity. I feel privileged to be asked to lead ABRSM during this continuing transition and I look forward to meeting with all staff, partners, volunteers, supporters, teachers and students, who together make up the international family that makes ABRSM so special and such a leader in the field of music”.

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