“I am delighted and honoured to receive the award and pleased it reflects the work of the team who have helped regenerate the area’s rich ceramics heritage.”
Ros Kerslake OBE was Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust for 10 years and was recently appointed Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Originally from Somerset, Ros studied law and psychology at Keele University in Staffordshire. After becoming partner in a law firm, she entered into the oil industry, initially with Conoco Group and then Gulf Oil, where she headed the legal team and subsequently all non-financial services. A similar role followed at Booker Group, the UK’s largest food wholesale operator, as International Director of Group Services. Then Property Director of Network Rail, where Ros was responsible for over £2bn of real estate, generating around £200m in turnover.
In 2003, Ros took her first Chief Executive role, with RegenCo, the urban regeneration company that managed projects across the Black Country. She then joined The Prince’s Regeneration Trust in 2006, charged with the commercial, sustainable regeneration of heritage assets throughout the UK. Ros was the organisation’s first CEO, merging two existing charities, and oversaw its growth into the foremost heritage-led regeneration charity in the UK.
The charity’s “most important and complex” project has been the restoration of Middleport Pottery, in the heart of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. “It exemplifies everything we stand for on heritage,” Ros said.
The £9 million restoration turned the factory into an award-winning tourism destination, reopened in 2014, which receives over 40,000 visitors annually. The Prince’s Regeneration Trust is also working with partners to revive the nearby Wedgwood Institute as a centre for enterprise, employment and training.
“We’ve been working very closely with Staffordshire University throughout the projects in Stoke-on-Trent – in a mutual partnership,” Ros explained. “The University is one of the few places still teaching ceramics and students from all disciplines have been an important part of the restoration of Middleport Pottery.”
At the start of July, Ros took on the role of Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has distributed almost £7bn in funding over the last 12 years. She was awarded an OBE for services to British heritage in January 2016.
The Award of Honorary Doctor of the University is bestowed upon Ros in recognition of her leading role in The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, in the acquisition and regeneration of Middleport Pottery and further work to conserve the Wedgwood Institute, which celebrates North Staffordshire’s ceramics heritage. Ros said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive the award and pleased it reflects the work of the team who have helped regenerate the area’s rich ceramics heritage.”