Multi-camera director Steve Smith is to take over from Beryl Richards as chair of the board of Directors UK, the professional association for British screen director.

Richards is stepping down after serving two and a half years in the post and having reached the maximum term of six years on the board.

Smith has been Vice-Chair of Directors UK for the past two years and on the board for four years.

Directors UK paid tribute to Richards, who was particularly proactive in spearheading the gender equality campaigns for better representation of women directors, raising awareness of the issues and helping to improve employment prospects and opportunities for all women TV and film directors. 

Steve Smith is a BAFTA award-winning multi-camera and entertainment director whose credits include The Graham Norton Show, The Great British Bake Off – An Extra Slice, John Bishop in Conversation and Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit. 

He also works as a sustainable production consultant and is a BAFTA ‘albert Ambassador’ promoting sustainability within the television industry and has been involved in training the future generation of directors.   

Andrew Chowns, Directors UK’s Chief Executive said: “I would like to thank Beryl for all her work over the years. Her passion and drive to improve the working lives of all directors and in particular her work on tackling gender equality has had a significant impact. I want to thank her for her years of dedication, her energy, creativity and commitment to Directors UK. We are also delighted at the appointment of Steve Smith as our new Chair. With his knowledge of the industry, years of experience as a director and on the board he brings an understanding, enthusiasm and energy, which will be of enormous value to Directors UK and its members in our work ahead.”

Beryl Richards, outgoing Chair said: “I would like to welcome Steve as the new chair, he is an excellent appointment. I am proud to have led the transformation of Directors UK into the strong campaigning organisation it has become, and of the work we have achieved to bring the issues affecting directors to the attention of the industry. It is important we continue to create opportunities and role models for future generations of directors. I would like to thank everyone for their support whilst I have been Chair, I have enjoyed serving my term and hope I have left Directors UK in a strong position to push through the many exciting changes in the future.”

New Chair, Steve Smith commented: “I am delighted to be taking over as Chair of Directors UK – it is a great honour and privilege to be in the role in such an organisation. Beryl will be a tough act to follow, she has been an outstanding leader over the last two and a half years, and has done amazing work championing our campaigns on issues such as diversity, gender equality and supporting BAME directors. It’s also imperative that Directors UK continues this important work to help the industry to be more diverse and inclusive.  As an organisation we must also continue to evolve in order to protect and support freelance directors and their rights in a changing global media landscape. I look forward to helping meet these challenges in the years ahead. “

Staff Reporter

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