The role, which is a new post within the industrial and service design trade body, will be taken up by Desbarats at the BDI national board meeting this month.
Desbarats (pictured) was elected to the role by BDI national and regional boards in a two-stage nomination and selection process.
His remit as chairman will be to communicate the benefits of BDI members’ expertise to outside organisations such as start-ups, corporations, universities and Government, as well as acting as the body’s spokesman to the press and other organisations.
He says, ’BDI and its members are proud to be part of a strong, unified design industry, but are equally clear that our particular profession is a distinct sub-set of design that needs to communicate more focused and informed messages and build its own sense of community.’
As well as communicating the importance of the BDI to outside organisations, Desbarats says that his priorities include reaching out to members to clarify the BDI’s offer to them.
He says, ’I want to ensure that members – who own the organisation – are fully aware of what is being done on their behalf, and give them a stronger voice in deciding the collective activities we should focus on.’
Desbarats says that he must nurture co-operation with other design organisations, adding that although many organisations may seem to compete for membership fees, each is specialised enough to leave potential for working together in a symbiotic relationship.
He says, ’We need a clear view of where all the trade bodies work together for the benefit of us all. It’s not a case of big initiatives, but to get on and work together.’
BDI is discussing how Desbarats’ role will differ from that of BDI chief executive Maxine Horn. This is part of a larger internal review to clarify individual roles which will see more appointments, including additions to the board, says Desbarats. It is hoped these plans will be announced towards the end of this month.