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New Millennium Experience Company

The Dome: Who runs it?

The World's Biggest Dome - "Millennium Experience"

The New Millennium Experience Company Ltd. is responsible for delivering the UK’s national focus to mark and celebrate the arrival of the third millennium in line with the policy of the Government and the Millennium Commission.

The Millennium Experience is part-funded by the Millennium Commission, the independent body set up to fund projects to celebrate the millennium using National Lottery funds. The Millennium Commission is chaired by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon Chris Smith MP.

Background History

June 1994: The then Chairman of the Millennium Commission and Secretary of State for National Heritage, the Rt. Hon Peter Brooke CH MP, proposed that a national exhibition be held as the focus for the country’s millennial celebrations.

February 1996: The Millennium Commission decided to offer grant to a national Millennium Exhibition to take place at Greenwich throughout 2000. During 1996 initial approaches to sponsors indicated a willingness to participate in the funding of the Exhibition alongside the Millennium Commission. No private equity to create the project’s development and the operating company was, however, identified.

January 1997: The then Government agreed with the Opposition that the project would be taken forward by a Government-owned body and that, following the imminent general election, a new Government would extend National Lottery funding for the Millennium Commission (originally planned to end on 31 December 2000) by one year to ensure that it received sufficient National Lottery money to cover its commitment to the Exhibition without risk to other millennium projects.

12 February 1997: The company was constituted as Millennium Central Ltd. and all the issued shares were transferred to a Government Minister. This brought the company within the control and accountability regime applying to all the Government’s non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), although the company is not in receipt of any taxpayers’ money voted by Parliament; the entirety of its ‘public money’ comes from the National Lottery funds distributed by the Millennium Commission. The ownership of the issued shares by a Government Minister does not affect or alter NMEC’s status as a company subject to the requirements of company law.

May 1997: Following the general election, the new Government undertook a full review of the project.

19 June 1997: The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP, visited the site at Greenwich. The Government gave the project its full backing to proceed declaring that "we now propose an exhibition which will make a statement for the whole nation at the dawn of the millennium. It will open a window on the future; the future for individuals; for society; the environment and the world".

25 June 1997: The issued shares were transferred to the Minister without Portfolio, Peter Mandelson MP

2 July 1997: The company name was changed to the New Millennium Experience Company Ltd. (NMEC).


The NMEC’s mission is:

To create, build, and operate a national Millennium Experience which attracts, inspires, entertains, educates and involves visitors and participants.

To seek, through the Experience, to influence positively each individual’s view of themselves and the world’s view of this nation.

The Millennium Experience incorporates the Dome at Greenwich and a linked programme of events and activities throughout the UK which will be branded as The Challenge.


The company’s objectives are:

To deliver a once in a lifetime, high quality Experience at Greenwich and a country-wide Challenge programme to time and to budget.

To achieve at least 12 million visits to The Dome at Greenwich.

To deliver value for money to the Millennium Commission, sponsors and paying visitors.

To develop and implement the Experience (The Dome and The Challenge) in a way which:

  • Optimises access, In the widest sense, by people of all ages, backgrounds and interests achieving a nationally and socially inclusive event.

  • Involves, engages, entertains, educates and transforms the visitor and participant.

  • Makes best use of British and international creative talent and state of the art technology.

To create a world profile for the celebration of the millennium in the UK. To assist, and where possible contribute to, the Government’s policy that there will be a lasting legacy for the nation from the Experience (The Dome and The Challenge).

In framing these objectives the company has aimed to meet the commitments made by the Prime Minister when he confirmed the Government’s full support for the project. These were that the Experience would result in no extra burden on the public purse, that it would provide a lasting legacy, that it would be a truly national event, and that it would entertain and inspire.

Board & key personnel

The company’s Board comprises ten non-executive and two executive directors appointed by the Shareholder. The non-executive directors receive no remuneration.

Non-Executive Directors Appointed
(Chief Executive, British Airways)
12 February 1997
SAM CHISHOLM (Deputy Chairman)
(Former Chief Executive & MD, Sky Broadcasting Group plc)
18 August 1997
(Director, Corporate Relations, BT)
12 February 1997
(Director, The General Electric Company plc)
12 February 1997
(Chairman, Woolwich plc)
12 February 1997
(Leader, Greenwich Council)
12 February 1997
(Chairman, British Tourist Authority)
12 February 1997
(Former Chairman, AMEC plc; President, Institute of Civil Engineers)
8 July 1997
(Chairman, First Leisure Corporation plc)
8 July 1997
(General Director, Scottish Opera)
8 July 1997


Executive Directors Appointed
(Chief Executive)
12 February 1997
(Finance and Corporate Services Director)
15 September 1997

Career details of the company’s lead executives are as follows:

Chief Executive: JENNIFER PAGE CBE

Chief Executive, English Heritage 1989-95; Chief Executive, Millennium Commission 1995-97. Formerly employed in Departments of the Environment and Transport, BNOC, London Docklands Development Corporation, and Pallas Group. Non-executive director, Railtrack Group plc, and Equitable Life Assurance Society.

Finance & Corporate Services Director: STEVE BROWN

Deputy MD and FD of Center Parcs 1987-97; key member of team that established and developed this successful UK leisure business. Held a number of public/private sector posts including Chairman, East Midlands Region of the CBI; Chairman public/private partnership establishing new East Midlands Regional Development Agency. Also previously held senior posts in the Thomas Cook Group.

Site & Structures Director (including Transport): DAVID TRENCH

Chairman & founder, Trench Farrow Partners 1979; Project management of Peterborough Court, Goldman Sachs; Grand Buildings, Enterprise Oil; Sanctuary Buildings, Department for Education and Employment. Project Director for completion of British Library from 1995; Formerly at Taylor Woodrow — oversaw construction at Sizewell Power Station, Royal Free Hospital, IBM Chiswick.

Commercial Director (Sponsorship, Licensing & Travel Trade): KEVIN JOHNSON

Vice President, Client Development, ISL 1995-97; responsibilities included development of marketing programmes for Olympics, World Cup, European Football Championships and World Athletics; management of ten offices in ten countries. Marketing Director, British Tourist Authority 1993-95 responsible for advertising, product marketing, travel trade, press and public relations; Marketing Director, National Garden Festival, Wales 1989-92.

Production Director (Greenwich content and events): CLAIRE SAMPSON

Event producer/production manager for range of arts and music events including indoor concerts, theatre, outdoor classical and rock events. Head of Exhibition and Festival Unit, Millennium Commission 1995-97.

Operations Director (ticketing and operating strategy & running The Dome): KEN ROBINSON CBE, FTS

MD Leisure Recreation and Tourism/VCL since 1971. Chairman, Tourism Society and The Visitor Attractions Advisory Committee. Management, development and operational planning for projects including Historic Royal Palaces, Kew Gardens, Granada Studios, Greenwich Tourism Strategy, Beaulieu National Motor Museum, London Docklands. Member, Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Tourism Strategy Group.

Challenge Director (Programme of events and activities across the UK): JOE SIMPSON

Formerly MD, The Knowledge Network, Digital Television Network. Chief Officer, LTV Telethon 1987-94. Senior Executive, BBC Worldwide Learning. Assistant Director, CSV 1978-93.

Implementation Director: JEFF HAWKINS

Consulting Director, Sema Group 1994-97. Partner, PA Consulting Group 1984-94. Led project and programme management for the Office of National Lottery, BP Exploration, Mercury, Lloyds TSB, The Millennium Commission, the Scottish Office, Department of Social Security, the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence. Royal Navy 1972-84.

Marketing & Communications Director: (currently under recruitment)



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