Paul Kelly succeeds Matthew Littleford MBE as The Reading Agency’s Chair of the Board

The Reading Agency today announced that Paul Kelly has been appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Reading Agency. He succeeds Matthew Littleford MBE, whose term as Chair ended after serving since 2018.   

Paul has been a member of The Reading Agency’s Board of Trustees since 2018 and has served as Vice-Chair since last year. He is the global CEO of DK, the world’s leading illustrated non-fiction publisher, which is part of Penguin Random House group. Paul has an incredible breadth of experience in UK and international publishing having previously served as President at DK US and Commercial and Strategy Director for Penguin Random House UK.  

“I have always been inspired by The Reading Agency’s innovative approach to promoting reading for pleasure and the incredible impact they have on so many lives. This brilliant organisation has gone fromstrength to strength under Matthew’s tenure, reaching over 2 million people last year, and encouraging 139,000 children and families to join the local library. I am humbled and honored to be taking over the vital role of Chair for The Reading Agency and working even more closely with CEO, Karen Napier, and her talented team. I look forward to using this position to help facilitate the charity’s immense potential to reach more people and leverage the power of reading to transform more lives than ever before.” 

Matthew Littleford, who stood down as Chair on the 1 February, was formerly Joint Managing Director of Betty, one of the UK’s leading TV production companies where he was responsible for running the business, editorial strategy, people and culture, business affairs and production management. He was also the Editorial Director for Digital at BBC Worldwide, leading, creating and delivering the editorial proposition across their portfolio of brands and platforms. 

During his tenure, Matthew provided invaluable leadership and guidance that helped The Reading Agency fulfill its mission to empower people of all ages to read. Some of the many key achievements under his chairmanship include expanding the reach of reading programmes like Reading Friends and Reading Well to vulnerable and underserved communities across the country, launching innovative digital reading initiatives to support early years reading like the Summer Reading Challenge online platform, and supporting the organisation to forge new relationships with charity, corporate and public sector partners to support literacy programs across the UK. 

“After six inspiring years, I would like to say thank you to The Reading Agency team, our brilliant library partners, and Arts Council England, for working with us to get more people across the UK reading. It has been a privilege to help Karen lead this innovative organisation during what have been challenging years for many and championing the proven power of reading. I wish Paul Kelly every success as the organisation’s new Chair and will continue to champion The Reading Agency’s work from the sidelines.” 

Matthew Littleford

“On behalf of The Reading Agency, I want to thank Matthew for his many years of exceptional service on our Board, Matthew’s passion for promoting reading and creativity has helped strengthen our organsation and enabled us to transform thousands of lives through the power of reading. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors. We are delighted to welcome Paul Kelly as our new Chair. His commitment to and expertise in reading for pleasure will be a real asset as we work towards getting more people across the country reading.” 

Karen Napier, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency.

“The Arts Council strongly believes in the importance of reading for pleasure and we’re proud to support The Reading Agency in its mission to empower people of all ages to read. Over the last six years, Matthew Littleford has led The Reading Agency to achieve a number of significant milestones, particularly around its reading programmes and Summer Reading Challenge, and we wish him well for his future. And we look forward to working with Paul Kelly and the whole team on the continuation of their vital work.” 

Sarah Crown, Director Literature, Arts Council England

The Reading Agency

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