Sadiq Khan has appointed Justine Simons OBE as his deputy mayor for culture and creative industries.
The London mayor has pledged support for the arts, culture and creative industries as one of the core priorities of his administration.
He has set out a programme to support the sector including championing the night-time economy, launching creative enterprise zones and protecting music venues.
Justine Simons has worked at a senior level in London’s cultural sector for over 20 years, both in policy and as a practitioner.
She played a major role in putting together major cultural initiatives such as the 2012 Olympic Festival, the Fourth Plinth Commission, and she established the World Cities Cultural Forum, an international network of 33 world cities.
Ms Simons was previously head of culture at City Hall, having previously worked in the dance sector for a decade as a producer and director.
Announcing her appointment Sadiq Khan said: “London’s rich creative scene is a major area of economic activity, boasting world-class talent and institutions, and is a vital ingredient in our city’s success. It is crucial that this vibrant sector continues to grow, and it is one of my core priorities to help it do so.
“In the fallout from the EU referendum, our city’s cultural well-being has ever been so important especially through its power to bring communities together, and to ensure our ongoing status as a globally attractive destination for business. Justine is a tour-de-force in London’s cultural scene, and she shares my passion to ensure culture is at the heart of city life.
“I am delighted to have Justine on board to deliver my ambitious programme at such a critical time.”
Commenting on her appointment, Justine Simons said: “It’s been my lifelong belief that creativity has the power to transform lives and places. Culture is part of London’s DNA. It’s a big reason so many of us choose to visit and live here, it generates billions for our economy and gives London its unique character and dynamism.
“The Mayor has done something unprecedented for a global city – he has made culture a top priority and his goal is to embed it in regeneration, planning and infrastructure. It is now more urgent than ever to unlock the potential of culture to build bridges and bring people and communities together.
“We must maintain the flow of ideas and creative talent and shore up our cultural economy. So I am thrilled to be given this chance to deliver Sadiq’s ambitious cultural vision and secure London’s future as a global role model.”