Main content


New Chief Executive for Icon

The new Chief Executive of Icon will be Sara Crofts.

Starting with us this January, Sara comes to Icon from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), where she has been Head of Historic Environment for the last three years - providing advice and strategic direction to the Board and Executive on grant giving and policy issues and building strategic relationships with historic environment organisations across the UK. Prior to this, Sara served as Deputy Director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), where she was also project director for major conservation initiatives.

Originally trained as an architect, Sara holds an MSc in Architectural Conservation and wrote her thesis on Interpreting Cultural Significance.  

The recruitment panel was led by trustee Iain Boyd with Chair Siobhan Stevenson, Vice-Chairs Caroline Peach and Jenny Williamson, with external support from Peter Hinton of CIFA, Ben Cowell of the Heritage Alliance and charity recruitment specialists OxfordHR.

The panel was impressed by Sara's broad level of skills and connections in the conservation and heritage worlds and her track record in advocacy, fund raising, project and people management. Sara was the panel’s unanimous first choice and the members were delighted when she accepted the position.

In her application Sara said: "I am extremely proud to have played a part in the life of the UK’s oldest conservation charity and to have worked for a major public funder, but I now feel that I would like to return to a smaller organisation where I can make full use of the skills and knowledge that I have acquired. As an architect I greatly respect fellow conservation professionals and have been impressed by the many conservators and restorers that I have met. I would therefore warmly welcome the opportunity to lead this important organisation and promote the profession within and beyond the heritage sector. Icon has achieved a huge amount over the last few years, but there is always more that can be done to build capacity in the sector and to train, enthuse and support the next generation of professionals. I see this role as an opportunity to make sure that Icon continues to be a well-respected organisation and continues to develop whilst delivering tangible and lasting benefits for its membership and heritage more broadly.”

Sara will start in January 2019, allowing time for her current strategic review work at HLF to be finished. In the meantime office visits and a handover from Alison will be organised to make the transition as smooth as possible.

"I couldn’t be more delighted to be handing Icon over to Sara Crofts," Alison said. "Icon is very fortunate to be reaping the benefits of Sara’s distinguished career at SPAB and HLF. Her experience and expertise are exactly what Icon needs to move to the next level. I hope you will join with me in giving Sara a very warm welcome.”


The views expressed in these comments are the views of the individual and do not reflect the views of The Institute of Conservation. Any comments containing inappropriate language or copyright material will be removed.

Twitter feed Follow us


View all

2018 ICON Book & Paper Group AGM live recording


The Anna Plowden Trust - a brief introduction


Plowden Scholar Puneeta Sharma 2013: Assistant Drawings Conservator, Royal Collection Trust


Focus on Continuing Professional Development grants: the Scottish Conservation Studio


Plowden Scholar 2002 Tom Küpper: Head of Glazing, Lincoln Cathedral


Water Washing Stone War Memorials