A senior figure from a major global company has been appointed to lead the national and international programme to commemorate the voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World.
Charles Hackett, who is vice president of medicines commercialisation for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, has been selected to be at the helm of Mayflower400 in the UK.
As the new chief executive, he will be the principal ambassador for Mayflower 400 at the most senior levels of government and commerce and will be the key point of contact for national and international stakeholders and partners in Plymouth.
He will also be accountable for all aspects of the English 2020 programme and the co-ordination with partners in Leiden, Massachusetts and Washington of the transatlantic programme.
Charles said: “I feel honoured and excited to play a part in this key anniversary that crosses borders, oceans and histories. I wanted to work for an initiative and organisation that brings a tangible benefit for the people and community.”
“The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower is an amazing opportunity for the UK to reinforce and build relationships with the US and Netherlands across cultural, professional, economic and political ties.”
“It is also a massive opportunity for Plymouth to be at the heart of the initiative and build a legacy of national and international profile and partnerships to continue to bring visitors, spending and investment into Plymouth.”
Adrian Vinken, OBE chair of the Mayflower 400 National Partnership and Plymouth Leadership team said: “The voyage of the Mayflower fundamentally shaped the world we live in today and so its 400the anniversary anniversary should also have a transformational and lasting impact. We wanted someone who was able to work on an international stage to achieve this. We are confident that Charles brings the right balance of business nous, passion and insight to lead this challenging programme.”
Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Ian Bowyer said: “The year 2020 is a key date for us and a number of significant events are already in train. We’ve have committed up to £70 million to progress capital projects to improve leisure and transport infrastructure ahead of this key date, including opening the History Centre, buying the Quality Hotel site and developing the cruise terminal.”
Overseeing the programme not just here in Plymouth but supporting Mayflower Compact partners across Europe and the US is a huge and challenging role, he said and added: “We’re keen to see what Charles will deliver for the city, both during that special year and the long term beneficial effects for our residents and businesses.”
City partners including the Council, the University of Plymouth, City College, the City Centre Company, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Destination Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce contributing funding for the post and have provided wider financial and staff support as planning the programme gets into gear.
David Alder, Chief Marketing Officer at the University of Plymouth, added: “The national and international visibility of the city is key to the city’s on-going trajectory and success and the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower provides a great opportunity to elevate the city’s position. This is an exciting and important appointment.”
Central Government has already contributed £500,000 to the national Mayflower 400 programme.
The new post holder will report to Destination Plymouth Ltd partnership chaired by Adrian Vinken OBE, which will effectively act as a holding company for Mayflower 400 in Plymouth. Amanda Lumley will continue in her role as Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth and will support Charles in his role.