Duncan Oppenheim

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Biographical Information

Sir Duncan Oppenheim (died in 2003) "was chairman of British American Tobacco (BAT) from 1953 to 1966...

"He served as chairman of the British National Committee of International Chambers of Commerce and was an active member of the CBI. He was chairman of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) from 1966 to 1971...

"He was extremely well-informed about art, and acted in a personal capacity as adviser to Sir David Eccles, the Minister for Works, on the selection of paintings for display in ministries and embassies abroad. He also served on the committee set up after the war to deal with claims under the Distribution of German Enemy Property Act.

"He took an active part in arts administration, serving as chairman of the council of the Royal College of Art from 1956 to 1972, during which period the College received its royal charter. He particularly enjoyed presenting the gold medal for best student of the year to David Hockney, who had dyed his hair gold for the occasion. In 1961 Oppenheim was elected a Senior Fellow of the college, and in 1972 he received an honorary doctorate.

"Oppenheim was chairman of the Council of Industrial Design from 1960 to 1972; a member of the advisory committee of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1967 to 1979; and a member, and later deputy chairman, of the Crafts Council from 1972 to 1983. In 1969, the Royal Society of Arts awarded him its bicentenary medal.

"As a long-time trustee and chairman of the council of St John's Smith Square from 1990, Oppenheim instigated the project to provide the church with an organ, contributing generously to the fund.

"Oppenheim was, at various times, a director of Lloyds Bank and the Equity and Law Life Assurance Society. He was chairman of the Tobacco Securities Trust from 1969 to 1974, and deputy chairman of the Commonwealth Development Finance Company from 1968 to 1974." [1]


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  1. telegraph.co.uk Duncan Oppenheim, organizational web page, accessed April 15, 2012.