New President Announced For Arts Centre Melbourne

Social entrepreneur Ian Carson AM has been named the new President of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust, overseeing the iconic Arts Centre Melbourne.

The Centre includes Hamer Hall, the Theatres Building and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and is Australia’s largest performing arts complex. Last year the centre welcomed more than 3.7 million people to performances, exhibitions, festivals and public education programs.

Starting his career as a Chartered Accountant, Ian has extensive experience in business start-ups, including as one of the founders of specialist consulting company PPB.

In 2005 he co-founded SecondBite with his wife Simone Carson AM, providing Australians in need of fresh and healthy food with more than 105 million meals. For this work they were awarded the Order of Australia in 2017 followed by Melburnians of the Year in 2018.

Ian is currently Chairman of Markets at PWC and is also a trustee of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He is dedicated to ensuring that arts and creativity thrive in Australia and sees Arts Centre Melbourne’s role as central to this.

Ian succeeds James MacKenzie who has served as President of the Trust since 2015. During this time James has overseen ambitious initiatives at Arts Centre Melbourne like the opening of the Australian Music Vault, the return of the Summer Musical and the inaugural Asia TOPA.

He has also been instrumental in the Arts Precinct Transformation project which includes the reimagining of the 35-year-old Theatres Building, a new gallery for the Australian Performing Arts Collection, an expanded Australian Music Vault and a new creative hub on 1 City Road.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley

“James MacKenzie has made an outstanding contribution to Arts Centre Melbourne and to our creative state more broadly. I thank him for his active leadership.”

“Ian takes the Arts Centre reins in a strong position and on the cusp of an exciting reimagining. I know he’ll bring great energy and experience to the role and I look forward to the Arts Centre’s continued success.”

Quotes attributable to outgoing Arts Centre Melbourne President James MacKenzie

“My time as President of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust has been deeply rewarding. I wish Ian Carson all the best for his time as President.”

“I thank Claire Spencer for her outstanding commitment to Arts Centre Melbourne and I applaud her visionary and collaborative leadership around the future of the Melbourne Arts Precinct.”

Quote attributable to incoming President Ian Carson

“I look forward to working closely with the Trustees, CEO Claire Spencer and the broader team at Arts Centre Melbourne to take the organisation deeper into its journey of transformation and reimagining.”