News & Events News

Clore Leadership pays tribute to Sarah Weir OBE

Everyone at Clore Leadership is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our board member, Sarah Weir OBE, following her diagnosis of a rare lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, in 2020.

Sarah, who was known for her creativity, wit and wisdom, was a much-loved and highly respected member of the Clore Leadership board, a post she had held since November 2020.  She was a good ally to Clore Leadership long before her tenure on the Board, acting as a mentor to alumni, speaking at events and supporting the programme development, both formally and informally.    

Outside of Clore Leadership, Sarah had an illustrious career spanning 45 years, beginning as a broker at Lloyd’s of London where, over a 15-year period, she went from being the office junior to the first female Managing Director in the Lloyd’s market. A passionate advocate of the creative economy, much of Sarah’s career has since focused on arts, culture and design, including Executive Producer at the Roundhouse in London; Chief Executive of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire; Chief Executive of The Legacy List, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park charity; Head of Arts and Cultural Strategy for the Olympic Delivery Authority; Executive Director, Arts Council England, London; and Executive Director of the Almeida Theatre.  In her final role, she became the first female Chief Executive of the Design Council, finally stepping down in October 2020, after her diagnosis. 

Sarah was awarded an OBE for services to the arts in 2011 and an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts, London for services to design in 2019. She served on the board of the Alzheimer’s Society from 2013.

Beyond her formal roles, Sarah coached and mentored generations of leaders, generously sharing her vast experience and uncanny instinct for creative solutions to knotty challenges. She often animated her speeches with found and treasured objects, leaving lasting memories and a profound impact on both people and places.

It is with a very heavy heart that I register the news that Sarah Weir has died. She had been open about her illness, facing it in her own inimitable fashion. But it’s still hard to believe that such a vital presence will not be with us anymore. I saw her only two weeks ago when we took time to set the world to rights, and Sarah shared her thinking about the safeguarding and EDI work she’d been supporting for Clore Leadership. Sarah was a mentor and a friend. She could make me laugh and think harder than almost anyone else I know. I will miss her enormously.

Moira Sinclair, Chair of Trustees, Clore Leadership

Inspirational. Aspirational. Entrepreneurial. Adviser. Mentor. Friend. Sarah walked alongside me for much of the past 20 years and I will ever treasure those steps.  I will treasure her audacity and her courage to change what was not right. She embraced everyone in her teams, valued and credited each contribution, no matter how small. An exemplary leader of leaders and a very special star.  Keep shining that light, dear Sarah. Rest and shine

Hilary Carty, Director, Clore Leadership

Sarah will be hugely missed by all the staff and trustees of Clore Leadership. We send our condolences to Louise and all Sarah’s family and friends.