Obituary: Board Chairman of Royal Opera Ian Taylor Dies

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Royal Opera House)

The Royal Opera has announced the death of Ian Taylor, Chairman of its Board of Trustees, at the age of 64.

Taylor died from pneumonia, following a long battle with the illness.

Born in 1956 in Croydon, England, Taylor grew up in North of England and went on to study at the Merton College, Oxford University, and joined Shell after graduating in 1978.

He would go on to work in Singapore and Venezuela and in 1985 went on to work for Vitol Group, a Dutch-owned energy and commodities company. He became CEO of the company in 1995 and became the first chairman of the Vitol Foundation. Taylor was also a non-executive director at Fortune Oil PLC, owned two restaurants in Wimbledon, and was a director of Wimbledon Cafés Ltd, Wimbledon Restaurants Ltd, Weybourne Ltd, Weybourne Investment Holdings, Rosehill GP Ltd, Taypey Ltd, and Allegro Enterprises Ltd. He also helped to save Harris Tweed from bankruptcy.

In 2005, he was named Scottish Exporter of the Year in 2015.

Other accomplishments included establishing the Taylor Family Foundation with his wife Tina in 2007, which supported the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet productions through its philanthropy. It also funded and supported the six schools’ matinees staged every Season by The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. In 2013, he was appointed Chair of its Development Committee, and in 2016 became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Opera House.

Taylor Family Foundation also supported the Tate Foundation, Wayne McGregor, the Southbank Centre, Rambert, Wimbledon Music Festival, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, Maggie’s Centres, and the Lowry Centre Trust, among others.

In a statement, Alex Beard, Chief Executive of The Royal Opera House said, “Ian Taylor, our former Chair, longstanding and remarkably generous philanthropist, and close friend to so many in the ROH family will be hugely missed. He brought a remarkable energy and enthusiasm to all he did and was passionate about supporting education, including our Schools’ Matinees. Everyone he met was inspired and motivated by his enthusiasm, intelligence, and determination to make a difference. His bravery and resolve following his stroke, which so sadly cut short his chairmanship, was humbling and astonishing in equal measure. All our thoughts and love are with Tina and the family.”