Manchester City Council has appointed Jenny Baxter, currently BBC England chief operating officer based at MediaCityUK, as project director for Factory Manchester, the £110m cultural centre due to open in 2019.
Baxter will join the project in the early autumn, the council said. She held several senior roles at the BBC, including controller of production for BBC News and head of foreign news, having spent her early career at the corporation in production and programme-making.
Cllr Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We are very pleased to have secured such a creative, experienced leader for this hugely significant cultural project, especially as she comes from one of our great creative partners here in Greater Manchester, the BBC. Jenny will work with our artistic partners MIF as well as Arts Council England and our partners in government, to ensure this new building benefits the whole cultural ecology of the North.”
Jenny Baxter said: “The Factory will showcase world-class creativity in the heart of this region and I am thrilled to be appointed to lead its development. It will be a stunning building that is going to make a key contribution to the UK’s ambitious cultural future.”
Designed by leading international architectural practice OMA, the Factory will, the council said, “combine digital capability, hyper-flexibility and wide-open space, encouraging artists to collaborate in new ways, and imagine the previously unimagined. It will be a new kind of large-scale venue that combines the extraordinary creative vision of Manchester International Festival with the partnerships, production capacity and technical sophistication to present innovative contemporary work year-round as a genuine cultural counterweight to London.”
The project has received funding from central government and has the support of chancellor George Osborne.