Royal Armouries welcomes new chairman - Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Global financier and private arms and armour collector Wesley Paul joins the Royal Armouries officially on January 3 as its new chairman.

He replaces long-standing chairman Ann Green CBE, who stepped down in the autumn after 13 highly successful years at the helm of Britain’s oldest museum – home to the national collection of arms and armour.

Wesley said, “I am very excited to be offered this opportunity. I have believed for a very long time that arms and armour are under appreciated in our society, not just for their historical importance and contribution to the culture, heritage and character of our country but also in many cases as major art forms.

Who and what we are today has been shaped and formed by the legacy of the many people involved in the development and manufacture of our arms and armour and we should be proud to recognise, remember and celebrate their contributions. In my view, as works of art, some of the finest artisans in arms and armour are an equal match for any artists in any other fields.

The Royal Armouries, like all other publicly funded bodies, faces very difficult times ahead but we believe that with the right focus, innovation and energy that we can reach much wider audiences – to increase their awareness, to educate and entertain them.”

Wesley has had a long career in global wealth management and finance and has lived and worked in London, Hong Kong and New York and has travelled extensively. He was born in Guyana in South America but came to London when he was very young and was educated in Britain.

He joined the offices of the American Bank, Morgan Guaranty of New York in London and rose through the ranks eventually becoming a Managing Director and Global Head of Investments for the parent company J.P. Morgan, based in New York where he had oversight for the firm’s worldwide investment activities.

Wesley left J.P. Morgan prior to their merger with Chase Manhattan and established his own investment practice and has also remained heavily involved with advisory and project finance activities with a variety of international clients.

Highlights included the conceptual design, content development and business leadership for an Earth Sciences Museum in the Middle East.

Wesley recently established Firsthaven Partners – together with several retired, senior British and US military leaders – to assess and fund new technologies in the areas of critical national infrastructure security, biometrics, cyber technologies, food and water security and other defensive (specifically non-offensive) technologies.

Among his many interests, Wesley has been a student and collector of antique arms and armour with a specific focus on European firearms dating from the 16th century but also with pieces from Japan and China dating much earlier from the turn of the first millennium

He has a very strong passion for the subject believing it to be integral to the history, heritage and culture of societies and a key to their national identity. He lives in Surrey with his wife and two children.

Wesley joins the Royal Armouries today, taking over from interim chairman, General Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL, who is also Constable of the Tower of London.

Director General and Master of the Armouries, Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley said, “Wesley Paul brings enormous energy, influence and financial acumen to the Armouries.

He also owns a significant private collection of important historic firearms and therefore has considerable knowledge of our work and our collection. He is a very busy man with business interests in the UK, Europe, Asia, Middle East and North America and we are immensely lucky that he has agreed to take on this role. He is just the person we need in these difficult times.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Lord Dannatt for offering his considerable expertise, hard work and enthusiasm while the new chairman was officially appointed.”

The Royal Armouries has three British museums and is the first British museum to establish a permanent branch in the US.

Notes to editors

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