Warner Brothers UK boss to be first US-born BFI chairman

The Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has confirmed that Greg Dyke will be replaced as the Chairman of the BFI by the President and Managing Director of Warner Brothers Entertainment UK Ireland and Spain.

Mr Dyke will step down in February next year, to be replaced by Josh Berger, who’s been a Governor of the BFI wince 2011. He’ll serve a four year term in the role.

Josh Berger (Photo: Warner Brothers)
Josh Berger (Photo: Warner Brothers)

Mr Berger, who’s been living and working in the UK since 1996 and became a British citizen in 2011, will be the first American-born leader of the body that manages investment in the British film industry.

Mr Whittingdale said he would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, both as head of a major studio in the UK and as a Governor of the BFI. “I have no doubt he will be a great champion for British film,” he added.

Mr Berger, who will continue in his role at Warner Brothers in addition to his new unpaid role at the BFI, said he was honoured and excited to become Chair of such an important and dynamic organisation. “Our goal is to ensure that the BFI continues protecting and promoting the UK’s thriving film culture and supporting and nurturing the ideas and talent that make up our world-class British film industry,” he said in a statement.

The BFI’s chief executive Amanda Nevill said she was confident that the organisation would sustain the momentum established under Greg Dyke and push ahead with ambitious plans for the future. “Josh is a global player, firmly rooted in the UK, and as our new Chair is really well placed to lead on the BFI’s mission to promote Britain’s thriving film culture and filmmaking prowess to the world,” she added.

The BFI’s outgoing Chairman, Greg Dyke, said the appointment was great news for the BFI and for film in the UK. “Josh has been at the heart of film in the UK for more than twenty years. He values and understands the spirit of independent filmmaking alongside the brilliance of our crews and facilities that are all so in demand worldwide,” he concluded.

Mr Berger, who’s also a board member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, a member of BAFTA and the Chair of Chickenshed Theatre Trust, was made a CBE in 2012 for his contribution to the creative industries in the UK.