Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

New director of the RGS-IBG announced

New director of the RGS-IBG announced RGS-IBG
20 Feb
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) appoints Professor Joe Smith, currently Head of Geography at the Open University, as its new director

Joe Smith is ‘thrilled’ with his appointment. ‘The breadth and scale of the Society’s reach is extraordinary and makes this a rare and compelling role,’ he says. ‘The Society is well positioned with an ambitious and comprehensive strategy in place, a loyal membership base and secure finances. I look forward to building on these foundations and taking the Society on to the next phase of its illustrious history.’

The new director has more than 20 years of experience in environment and geography research, first at the University of Cambridge and then the Open University. He became a professor of environment and society at the OU in 2016, and was appointed Head of Geography in 2017. He is also a director of the clock-making company, Smith of Derby.

The Society’s president, Nicholas Crane, says: ‘We are delighted to welcome Joe to the Society and look forward to starting work with him. His experience as a geographer working with people from across and outside the geography community will stand him in good stead for the role of director.’

The announcement comes eight months after the Society’s current director, Dr Rita Gardner CBE, made the decision to step down. Gardner has spent 22 years at the helm of the RGS-IBG. Of her time in charge, Crane stated: ‘Rita has been an inspirational leader of the Society over the last two decades and I would take this opportunity to thank her for all her work in developing the Society and raising the profile of geography during this time. She leaves behind a world-leading, innovative and welcoming organisation that is an influential and effective advocate for the discipline.’

Gardner will begin her handover to Smith on 16 April with a four-week transition period.

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter and get a free collection of eBooks!

geo line break v3

Related items

Subscribe to Geographical!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3


Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby




Travel the Unknown


Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • Natural Capital: Putting a price on nature
    Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of the world that nature provides for us – the air, soils, water, even recreational activity. Advocat...
    The human game – tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    Mexico City: boom town
    Twenty years ago, Mexico City was considered the ultimate urban disaster. But, recent political and economic reforms have transformed it into a hub of...
    Alien views
    The tabloids would have us believe that immigrants are taking our houses, our jobs, our school places and our hospital beds. But a close reading of th...


NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.