Maria Balshaw

New director of Tate galleries

Balshaw arrived at Tate in June, after 11 years as director of the Whitworth, while also director of Manchester City Galleries since 2011. There her talent for fundraising and navigating the often treacle-thick waters of local politics saw her appointed director of culture for Manchester City Council in 2014. So, Balshaw is an adept politician and bureaucrat – useful skills in her new job. The network of galleries she takes over is in good shape: a record 8.4 million visits were made to Tate’s four sites in the last financial year, a figure boosted by Tate Modern’s extension (renamed the Blavatnik Building in June after a £50m donation by billionaire Len Blavatnik), the 478,082 people who saw David Hockney at Tate Britain and the newly expanded Tate St Ives. Wolfgang Tillmans and the group show Soul of a Nation proved highlights of a largely inherited programme. It’s now a question of seeing what she does with this legacy.