Eddie Byers appointed new Chief Executive of English UK
24 January 2014

Global marketing expert Eddie Byers, who has held director-level posts at the British Council and VisitScotland, will take over as Chief Executive of English UK later in 2014.

Mr Byers, who most recently was Managing Director of the British Council's Programme & Projects arm, will work alongside retiring Chief Executive Tony Millns from February before taking over formally at the end of May.

"English UK's members are the heartbeat of this organisation, and my first priority will be to meet and listen to them.  I want to see what English UK does through their eyes," said Mr Byers, who plans to attend the association's events to meet its 472 members from March onwards.

Mr Byers, who is currently based in Scotland but is flat-hunting within commuting distance of English UK's London office, said several factors had attracted him to the role.

"This industry already makes a powerful and positive contribution to the UK's global reputation.  English UK has played an important role in this over the last decade as a great advocate and support for the sector. I would hope to continue this good work and help it evolve further."

He added that it was a crucial dimension of the organisation's work to engage effectively with political structures in the UK and Europe over issues such as student visas.

Sue Edwards, Chair of the English UK Board, said it was "delighted" to announce the appointment of Mr Byers.

English UK was created in 2004 from the merging of industry bodies Arels and Baselt, representing state and private sector English language centres. Tony Millns, who guided the merger, had been chief executive of Arels for five years, and has led English UK since.

Mr Byers, who is married with two children, is taking over English UK in its tenth year. He has previously worked at high levels in both corporates and international public service organisations.

His most recent post was as Managing Director of the British Council's Programmes and Projects team, a multi-million pound commercial contracting unit delivering services for clients included the European Union, the UK and Scottish governments, and other international agencies.

During his time in this role, Mr Byers was also a director of EducationUK, which brought together more than 300 universities and businesses to promote the UK's education offer and bring students to our schools, colleges and universities. He was also responsible for the Erasmus and Comenius scholarship and exchange programmes.

Previously, Mr Byers spent six years as Director of Industry Engagement for VisitScotland, helping to merge 15 area tourist boards in 2005 before going on to stimulate partnership working across the industry and developing increased commercial activity.


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