The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society announced on Wednesday that Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea is stepping down as Chair of the Board of Directors on 30 March 2021.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Fringe Society Chair, said: “I have enjoyed serving as Chair of the Fringe Society Board of Directors, and I was impressed by the resilience and energy of the Fringe team and Board during such a challenging and extraordinary time we faced in 2020. 

“Much has changed in the last twelve months, but my belief in the importance of the arts and the immense value of the Fringe has never wavered. I know how dedicated the Fringe staff team are and I know the Board is totally committed to ensuring the Fringe survives and flourishes. I wish them well and I am sure they will succeed.”

O’Shea was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh for 15 years and joined the Fringe board in 2012. He was due to step down last year but agreed to stay on when the board unanimously asked him to do so.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “In a period of great uncertainty, Sir Tim O’Shea has been a figure of strength and stability for the Fringe Society, and I am incredibly grateful that he agreed to extend his tenure in the wake of these extraordinary times.

“I’d like to personally thank him for his passion, commitment and foresight, and for his guidance during the most difficult year the Fringe has faced. I know that he will continue to be a great friend both to me and the Fringe Society in the future.

“There’s no doubt that real challenges lie ahead. But I look forward to working with our new Chair to make sure that the spirit of the Fringe burns as brightly as ever, and to build a more resilient Fringe Society to support the return of the Edinburgh Fringe as the best version of itself. We strongly encourage applications from a diverse range of backgrounds to ensure the Fringe Society is best representing the communities it serves.”

Recruitment for a replacement Chair has now begun and the closing date for applications is on 1 March 2021.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019 PHOTO ©2021 The Edinburgh Reporter