Financial Times editor Lionel Barber has been appointed chairman of the Tate in a move that raises questions over the paper’s impartiality regarding coverage of the museum group.
Barber has served on the Tate’s board of trustees since 2011 and as interim chairman since August last year, but was appointed to the role fully last week.
Members of the board are appointed by the Prime Minister but choose their own chairman. Barber will hold his role until 30 January 2021.
The FT Weekend includes has extensive arts and culture coverage.
Barber is not the only editor to hold a second job while at the helm of a national newspaper. Evening Standard editor George Osborne is an advisor to US fund management firm Blackrock, which pays him £650,000 a year to work four days a month.
Barber is also on the board of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In February he was awarded the Media Society’s annual award for his outstanding contribution to journalism.
Barber said: ‘I am honoured to accept the position of Chair of Tate, one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. I look forward to working with Tate’s Trustees, Maria Balshaw and her fellow directors to bring art in all its aspects to an ever bigger and diverse audience. ‘
An FT spokesperson said: “The FT has a long track record of integrity, independence and ethical journalistic practices, underpinned by a robust code of conduct with conflict of interest guidelines that all employees adhere to.
“Mr Barber remains committed to upholding the highest professional and ethical standards of journalism and the FT will continue to report without fear and favour.”
The Tate has four galleries in the UK, comprising the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.
Picture: Society of Editors