Orna NiChionna has been appointed as the new chair of the Eden Trust, the charity responsible for the Eden Project.
She will join the board of trustees later this month and will succeed Edward Benthall in the role in June.
NiChionna’s career has spanned business and the not-for-profit sector, where she has focussed on environmental and biodiversity issues.
She was a partner at consulting firm McKinsey and Company for many years and since leaving McKinsey she has served on the boards of a number of well-known companies, including Royal Mail, HMV, Bupa, and Saga. She is currently the senior independent director at Burberry.
She has also played leadership roles at several charitable organisations, including the Soil Association, where she was chair of trustees for six years and a council member for 13 years, and at the National Trust, where she was deputy chair for seven years and acting chair in the last year of her term as a trustee.
Edward Benthall was appointed chair of the Eden Trust in 2015 and has been an Eden trustee since 2014.
The arrival of Orna as the new Chair comes at a pivotal moment for the Eden Project, following the announcement in January that Eden Project Morecambe has been granted £50 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
Eden’s expansion to new sites will run in parallel with developments at the project’s Cornwall home, including the establishment of a state-of-the-art new plant nursery and further work on Eden’s ground-breaking geothermal heat and energy project.
NiChionna said: “I am truly delighted to be joining the Eden Project team at this exciting time. For more than 20 years, people have flocked to our unique Cornwall site, the result of Sir Tim Smit’s vision and drive.
“We want to build on that strong foundation to inspire even more people around the world to appreciate and protect our amazing natural world, our biodiversity, our real-life Eden. I look forward to working with our CEO Rob Chatwin and with Tim on this next phase.”