The Edinburgh International Festival has announced the appointment of Francesca Hegyi OBE as the incoming Executive Director. Heygi, who previously studied and worked in Edinburgh, returns to the city in February 2019 to start her new role.
Francesca Hegyi was most recently Executive Director of Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, where she secured major funding and partnerships to deliver 2,800 events over the course of the year. Her success there helped earn her an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2018.
Heygi's career began at the Science Museum in London before working as a policy adviser for the Scottish Museums Council in Edinburgh. She moved on to become Head of Regions and International at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, until 2005, when she joined the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games as Senior Adviser. Here she was responsible for developing the delivery framework for the UK-wide cultural programme, leading fundraising and commercial partnerships for the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, a £126m programme which engaged with more than 43 million people over the course of 4 years as well as working with more than 40,000 artists.
Following the 2012 Games, Francesca became an affiliate at King’s College London’s Cultural Institute where she led the first Cultural Enquiry into Culture and Major events, exploring how to maximise the benefits and enhancements that cultural activities and programmes can bring to major events.
Festival Director, Fergus Linehan said: “We are delighted to welcome Fran to the International Festival in this important leadership role. Fran has a strong connection with our city and has a reputation for delivering work of an international standard that creates lasting value in the communities in which it is performed.”
Hegyi said: “I feel privileged and excited to have been appointed as Executive Director at the Edinburgh International Festival, joining Fergus and such a brilliant team. I first experienced the International Festival as a student in Edinburgh nearly 30 years ago and have watched and admired its growth since then. As well as being the cultural highlight of the year, it plays a vital role in the life of the city, for residents as well as the many visitors it attracts. I can’t wait to help shape the next chapter of its future. Joanna has set an incredibly high bar during her tenure and I feel lucky to be joining a company in such good health.”