Harriet Finney has been appointed BFI Deputy CEO and Executive Director of the newly formed Corporate and Industry Affairs team. Working closely alongside BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts, Harriet will be focused on strategic leadership of the BFI’s work with stakeholders from the cultural sector, industry and government to advance the UK’s position as a global leader in screen.

In this role Harriet will lead on the successor to the BFI’s five-year strategy BFI2022, to steer the organisation and wider industry into its next chapter. New appointments within Harriet’s team include Neil Peplow, Director of Industry and International Affairs, and Rishi Coupland as Head of Research and Insight.

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As Deputy CEO and Executive Director of Corporate and Industry Affairs, Harriet takes on a new and broader remit. In addition to policy and strategy, research and insight, corporate communication, press, public affairs and sustainability, Harriet will also have oversight of the BFI Film Fund, which will be led by Mia Bays who is joining the BFI in the autumn as Film Fund Director, and the Young Audiences Content Fund led by Jackie Edwards.  

Within the Corporate and Industry Affairs directorate, Neil Peplow will take on an expanded role as Director of Industry and International Affairs, with a specific focus on policy and funding interventions to drive industry growth. Neil will take on responsibility for the BFI’s skills strategy and the certification unit, alongside his current remit overseeing the BFI’s international strategy and the recently launched Global Screen Fund. 

The BFI has also announced that Rishi Coupland will join the BFI in July as the new Head of Research and Insight from his current position at the National Theatre. Rishi will work closely with colleagues across the BFI, industry and government to develop a dynamic research programme giving fresh insights into BFI audiences and trends across the sector as well as supporting the development of robust evidence-led policy development. The BFI’s Research department also provides the UK’s official screen statistics.

“I’m over the moon to have been given the opportunity to broaden my remit at the BFI,” says Finney. “Bringing our National Lottery funding alongside our policy, strategy and research work makes perfect sense. These are powerful levers for change and bring to life our commitment to make the UK’s screen industries and our film culture genuinely accessible and available to all. I’m just so lucky to have such a brilliant team and am looking forward to working with Ben, our stakeholders and government to make sure the BFI and the UK’s screen industries remain at the top of their game – both culturally and economically.”

Ben Roberts, BFI CEO, says: “Harriet and her teams have been nothing short of incredible over the past year – coordinating a strong and well-evidenced plan across industry and government to lead us out of lockdown I love working with Harriet and I’m really thrilled that we’ll be working so closely to build a bright future for the BFI, for the sector and our screen culture.”

Harriet joined the BFI in September 2017 as Director of External Affairs and has led the BFI’s industry activities and government relations through a time of huge political change and upheaval. Harriet heads up the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force, which guides industry’s engagement with government, on issues relating to EU exit, free trade negotiations and more recently ensuring the industry got back up and running safely and swiftly during the pandemic.

Under her leadership, the Taskforce has grown to over 120 members from across the sector with representation from the four Nations and the Regions. During the COVID crisis the Taskforce provided policy recommendations and robust evidence, which led to government stepping in to support the sector with the introduction of the groundbreaking Production Restart Scheme and ensuring independent cinema’s inclusion in the Culture Recovery Fund, quarantine exemptions for the film and TV industries, and the recently launched UK Global Screen Fund

Prior to the BFI, Harriet was Deputy CEO at the Creative Industries Federation, having joined as Policy Director in July 2015 shortly after the organisation was formed.