Lord Smith of Finsbury was appointed chairman of the Art Fund in 2014.
Chris Smith entered parliament in 1983 as an MP for the Labour Party, defeating George Cunningham to win the seat of Islington South & Finsbury. Before his appointment as the UK's first secretary of state for culture, media and sport (1997–2001), Smith held positions as the shadow treasury minister from 1987 to 1992, and shadowed the environment, heritage, pensions and health portfolios between 1992 and 1997.
During his time in cabinet, Smith secured additional funding and a tax rebate in order to restore free admission to all of Britain's national museums and galleries. He also began the Renaissance in the Regions programme for regional museums, and brought in major changes to the acceptance-in-lieu scheme. He stepped down from parliament in 2005 and was made a life peer later that year, as Lord Smith of Finsbury in the London Borough of Islington.
Since his retirement from politics, Smith has served as chair of the London Cultural Consortium (2005–2008), and was the founding director of the Clore Leadership Programme, which was established to develop new leaders for the cultural sector. He is chairman of the Wordsworth Trust and an honorary fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge, and chaired the judging panel for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2012.
Positions include: member of parliament, 1983-2005; secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, 1997-2001; founding director, Clore Leadership Programme, 2003-08; chairman, Environment Agency, 2008-14; chairman, Advertising Standards Authority, 2007-present; chairman, Wordsworth Trust; non-executive director, Phonographic Performance Ltd; Board Member, The Sixteen Limited. Lord Smith became Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge University, in October 2015