Merchant Venturers Announce First Woman to Lead Executive

Bristol’s Society of Merchant Venturers has announced that Caroline Duckworth will become the organisation’s Treasurer in November 2015.

The Treasurer is the most senior executive position within the organisation – equivalent to the role of Chief Executive in a commercial operation.

Caroline has built a strong profile in the region in her current role as Chief Executive of Quartet Community Foundation, one of the most innovative and respected community foundations in the UK.

At Quartet she has overseen the distribution of over 1,000 grants each year to voluntary and community groups across the West of England.

Prior to her role at Quartet, Caroline was UK Managing Director at Common Purpose, the independent, international leadership development organisation.

Caroline is a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, a member of the Guild of Guardians and a member of the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire. She is a Governor of Wycliffe College and a member of the UK Community Foundation Board.

Chris Curling, Master of the Merchant Venturers said: “We have conducted a nationwide search for our new Treasurer, who can continue to drive our progress in contributing to the greater Bristol community.

“We are delighted Caroline has agreed to join us, bringing her enormous talent for working with regional and national partners in creating vital opportunities for the local community.”

Caroline Duckworth said: “I am delighted to be joining the Merchant Venturers, an organisation, which achieves so much that is extraordinary.

“Each year the Merchants support scores of local good causes, contribute to the education of thousands of young people and provide homes and care for hundreds of older people. This contribution is made with modesty and without seeking recognition.

“The Merchant Venturers are an inspiring group of individuals and I very much look forward to joining them in the autumn.”

Robert Bourns, Chair of Quartet Community Foundation said: “Caroline has provided us with outstanding leadership, reinforcing and growing Quartet’s role as an effective broker of relationships across the West of England.

“She will be a major asset for the Merchant Venturers when she joins the Society in November. In the meantime, we will work with Caroline to recruit and prepare her successor, ensuring we continue our vital work in empowering communities now and for the future.”

Chris Curling also paid tribute to the current Treasurer, Richard Morris, who will retire in November: “Richard has been Treasurer during a period when the Merchants have been particularly active and have driven great change, probably more so than at any time in our 600-year history.

“Over the past 12 years Richard has been central in the delivery of this activity and change, bringing energy, drive and a clarity of approach that have underpinned all that we do.”

During Richard’s tenure the Merchants have achieved a step change in their support for local education, delivering a tripling in the number of young people attending their schools and Academies: rising from 1,100 pupils to more than 3,500. Richard was centrally involved in the creation of Merchants’ Academy in Withywood, South Bristol, which opened in 2008.

Providing care for older people is a further key area of focus for the Merchant Venturers. The support offered to the elderly, and the number receiving support, have been transformed in recent years.