Former Iraq Commander to Lead Armouries

Royal Armouries, the national museum of arms and armour, has appointed two highly-respected professionals to head its new management team.

Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley, a former commander of British Forces in Iraq and one of Britain’s most senior generals, is to be the new Director-General and Master of the Armouries.  He took up his new position in June, when he left the Army.

Janice Murray, Head of Cultural Planning at the National Railway Museum in York, will take on the role of Chief Executive Officer.  She has been on secondment to the Royal Armouries as Interim Chief Executive since November 2008. 

During his Army career, Lt Gen Riley commanded The Royal Welch Fusiliers in Gorazde in 1995 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for bravery and distinguished conduct.   In 2003 –

2004, he was appointed General Officer Commanding British Forces in Iraq and subsequently served as Deputy Commander of NATO ISAF in Afghanistan.

Lt Gen Riley is one of only a few British officers to command a tri-service joint task force on operation, which he did in Sierra Leone in 2000-2001.  He was made an Officer of the Legion of Merit of the United States of America in 2004 and a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in 2008.

His other appointments include being a visiting fellow in Modern History at the University of Birmingham, a member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a member of the Council of the Army Records Society and Chairman of the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum and Archive Trust, based at Caernarvon Castle.

 Lt Gen Riley has written a number of books, including several military histories and four studies of command, the most recent of which – Napoleon as a General – was published in 2007.

Mrs Murray, a social historian with 25 years experience in the cultural sector, has a degree in history and a post-graduate qualification in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester.  In her new role, she will be responsible for the operational and curatorial performance of the museum.

At the NRM, Mrs Murray, who is an Associate of the Museums Association and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, was involved in all aspects of the museum, including the development of the award-winning Locomotion: The National Railway Museum in Shildon and the joint production with York Theatre Royal of The Railway Children, using real locomotives.

She is currently chair of York@large, the city's strategic cultural partnership, and is a former director of the Yorkshire Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

Announcing the appointments, the Chairman of the Royal Armouries, Ann Green, said:  “With an MA in history from Leeds University and a PhD in modern history from Cranfield, Dr Riley is well qualified to lead the Royal Armouries to new levels of excellence.  Most importantly, he has a vision for bringing education to as wide an audience as possible.

“We are also delighted that Janice has chosen to join us on a permanent basis following her interim role. She brings substantial knowledge and connections across the cultural and tourism fields and, during her short time with us, has won the respect and support of the Armouries team.”

Jonathon Riley commented: “This is a dream job.  The Royal Armouries contains one of the world’s finest collections of arms and armour and is an international centre of excellence in terms of the quality and expertise of its staff.  I share their passion for the collection and am looking forward immensely to providing the necessary leadership to take the museum forward.”

Janice Murray added: “I am delighted to be taking up the challenge of the new role and I very much look forward to working with Jonathon to make the Royal Armouries even more successful.”

 





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