Our Senior Leadership Team is made up of five members: Nick Capaldi, Sian Tomos, Diane Hebb, Rebecca Nelson and Richard Nicholls. You can read more about their backgrounds and areas of expertise below.
Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive
Nick Capaldi has been Chief Executive of Arts Council of Wales since September 2008. He was previously Executive Director of Arts Council England South West, and before that Chief Executive of South West Arts. Nick Capaldi has been a Board member of Culture South West and Chair of the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, a pioneering public/private initiative.
During his time with the Arts Council, the South West of England benefited from a £75m Lottery capital investment, and Nick Capaldi played a leading role in bringing to fruition some of the region's most important arts and cultural facilities.
A graduate of Manchester's Chethams Music School, the Royal College of Music and City University in London, Nick Capaldi's career in the arts started as a professional musician. This included extensive concert performances as well as broadcasts on radio and television.
Nick was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by City University London in 2016. He is a Governor of Cardiff Metropolitan University and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Sian Tomos, Director (Arts Development)
Sian Tomos is the Director of Enterprise and Regeneration for the Arts Council of Wales. Sian is an innovation facilitator, creative collaborator and experienced leader of arts development. After over 10 years of working as the Regional Director in north Wales – re-imagining what was possible in a largely rural area – Sian became Director, Arts Development five years ago.
Since then, she has pioneered an Asset-Based development approach focusing on building on what’s strong, not what is wrong. An advocate of bringing creativity and imagination to all aspects of the people-led approach, she delivers arts development through the lens of the sustainable development principle.
Sian is a fluent Welsh speaker and is the strategic lead for the Welsh language, the green agenda, and public affairs in addition to her arts development work.
Diane Hebb, Director (Arts Engagement)
Diane Hebb is the Director of Engagement and Participation at Arts Council of Wales. The role involves developing, managing and implementing strategies and programmes that lead to more people creating, enjoying and taking part in the arts in Wales.
On completing her dance degree, Diane moved to Wales to join a dance in education company and then took up the post of Dance Animateur and Joint Team Coordinator with Rhondda Community Arts.
She joined Arts Council of Wales in 1992 as the Dance Officer and during her career she has undertaken many varied roles and responsibilities; she has been the strategic lead for Inclusion and Participation, has drafted the Council’s first equalities strategy and co-authored and overseen the implementation of its first arts and young people strategy.
She is currently responsible for a team which is working on a number of strands, including commissioned work aimed at progressing the engagement and participation agenda. Chief amongst these is her current role, working in partnership with the Welsh Government to develop an ambitious and pioneering arts and creative learning plan for Wales, designed to implement the recommendations from Professor Dai Smith’s review of arts in education.
Other key responsibilities of the Engagement and Participation Team include
- the Council’s Strategic Equality Plan,
- arts and health,
- audience development
- development of Wales’ presenting venues,
- participatory arts and community arts,
- arts and young people
- creative learning,
- community touring
- Night Out scheme.
Diane is passionate about community engagement and the transformational impact the arts can have on the lives of individuals and communities.
Rebecca Nelson, Director (Finance and Business Services)
Rebecca is the Director of Finance and Business Services for the Arts Council of Wales. She is a first class economics graduate from the University of Manchester and a chartered accountant within over 17 years of experience working in the private and public sector. Rebecca is a charity accounting specialist and holds the ICAEW diploma in Charity Accounting DChA. She is also Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Rebecca trained with a big 4-accountancy firm and progressed quickly to senior management. As a senior manager, Rebecca managed some of the biggest public and private sector clients in the Wales and West region, including central government, local government, health, charities, FE and HE education and pension funds.
Specialising in assurance, Rebecca has held roles in external audit, internal audit and financial reporting. Rebecca also has strong background in risk assurance and governance, conducting reviews in high profile organisations and publicly speaking at events on the subject.
In her role as Director of Finance and Business Services at the Arts Council of Wales, Rebecca has responsibilities for strategic and financial oversight of the charity. Rebecca is also the employee nominated Trustee on the Arts Council’s Pension fund, a multi employer fund that includes Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.
Rebecca is qualified with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA) and is passionate about accounting and finance in the public sector in Wales and developing others. She became a fellow of the Institute in 2018. Rebecca was elected President of CIPFA Wales in March 2019 and is currently serving a two year term.
Richard Nicholls, Director (Operations)
Richard Nicholls has 21 years’ experience in funding within the arts, education and health and wellbeing. Having started his career in arts marketing in the north west of England, Richard worked for clients including Tate Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool, and subsequently became Sales and Development Manager for the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.
For five years, Richard was Deputy and Acting Head of Development for the University of Liverpool working on their £70 million capital campaign that included the restoration of the Victoria Building as an art gallery and museum.
In 2008, Richard moved to Cardiff and became Director of Income Resources for two leading Welsh charities, Tenovus Cancer Care and Age Cymru, before joining Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales as Director of Development where he led the team to secure final funding for the redevelopment of St Fagans National Museum of History. Richard lives in Cardiff with his wife and three children having originally been brought up in Wrexham.