Christopher rodrigues cbe steps down as chairman of the royal ballet school

Christopher Rodrigues CBE steps down as Chairman of The Royal Ballet School

The Royal Ballet School reports that Chairman Christopher Rodrigues CBE, who has recently been acting as interim CEO, has advised the Governors that, for medical reasons, he does not feel able to return to his role as Chair as was intended once the full-time CEO was appointed. He has now stepped down, and Interim Chairman Anna Birkett will continue in post until a replacement is appointed. 

Christopher joined The Royal Ballet School as Chairman in January 2020. In January 2023, he was invited to take a second term to the end of the School’s centenary year in 2026. However, after considering the progression of his Parkinson’s condition, Christopher has decided the time is right to appoint a new Chair.

During his four-year tenure, Christopher steered the School and its team through the significant challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. He initiated the transition to a strategy to ensure the School’s artistic and financial sustainability into its second century.  

He has supported the School’s philanthropic fundraising and overseen a restructure of the School’s governance while adding new governors with the skills needed to support the School in the rapidly changing worlds of education and dance training. 

Christopher said:

It is with a heavy heart that I am stepping down early from this world-class school. Our students never fail to make me proud of their extraordinary skills and energise me with their commitment and enthusiasm. I look back on my years as Chair with real pleasure—not least because of the support I have had from staff and governors alike.

Interim Chairman Anna Birkett said: 

The School has been privileged to have Christopher as its Chair through one of the most challenging periods in its history. With his vast business insight, experience, and lifelong passion for and connection to the ballet, Christopher has led the School’s Board and supported its staff and students with great diligence, devotion and skill. We extend our gratitude for his hard work and all he has achieved.

The son of two former Royal Ballet dancers, the late Julia Farron and Alfred Rodrigues, Christopher Rodrigues brought to The Royal Ballet School a deep-seated admiration for classical ballet artists and a profound understanding of the unique pressures of a career in ballet. He enjoyed a long and successful international career in business. He acted as Chair of numerous major UK institutions, including the British Council, the Almeida Theatre, Visit Britain and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. 

In 2007, he was awarded his CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to British business interests and charitable works in the UK and USA.