Sarah Weir steps down from Design Council


29 September 2020

Following three and a half years as CEO of the UK’s Design Council, Sarah Weir has announced that she is stepping down following a medical diagnosis.

She will officially step down at the end of October, and current executive director Sue Morgan and chief design officer Cat Drew will manage the role of CEO pending a new appointment.

Weir is the first woman to hold the position of CEO at the Design Council, and was surprised, she tells Design Week, that the organisation was 90 per cent white when she joined. She is proud to have been part of a diversification of the Council during her tenure, saying that the organisation now “looks and feels different”.

“I was keen that when you stepped into the front halls of Design Council that the person that welcomed you reflected the diversity of London,” she says. “In ten seconds you can sum up what an organisation is like.” Diversity should cover all aspects of the organisation, Weir maintains, from the faces represented on its website, to recruitment policies and public events.

She hopes that her successor will not be picked from a pool of “usual suspects”. The Design Council describes the new role as a “significant opportunity to shape the future direction” of the organisation, and that it is “actively recruiting for a diversity of candidates that reflects the ‘all’ of the society we are designing with and for”.

Design Council chair Terry Tyrrell says in a statement: “Sarah has given outstanding service to Design Council over the last three and a half years. She is highly respected among trustees for her courageous, creative and inclusive approach.”