The executive committee of the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), the professional body representing lighting designers worldwide, has appointed two of the association's members, Robert Ornbo and Richard Pilbrow, as joint presidents. They replace Michael Northern, who passed away last spring, and they assume the positions immediately.

The role of ALD president involves advising the executive committee on achieving the organization's principal goals, which are to further the art of lighting design for the theatre, live entertainment and associated industries, and to raise the profile of lighting designers. The committee wanted working lighting designers who were widely respected and who had contributed to the industry's development in the relatively short history of lighting design. They also wanted to appoint presidents who applied their skills on an international basis away from the traditional performing arts.

Rick Fisher, chairman of the ALD, says he is thrilled with the appointment. "We are lucky to have so many original members still actively involved in the industry and we wanted to honour two of them. We couldn't have made a better choice than Robert and Richard, whose careers have spanned the globe and the wide ranging aspects of performance lighting. As they were both instrumental in creating and raising the profile of lighting design throughout their illustrious careers, I know they'll contribute to the continual development of the ALD and we are sure to profit from having two of our most distinguished and respected lighting designers as presidents."

Having begun his career with England, our England at the Princes Theatre (now The Shaftesbury Theatre) in 1962, Robert Ornbo has spent the past 40 years as a lighting designer and theatre consultant, involved with every type of production in almost every country of the world, from Company on Broadway and War and Peace at the Sydney Opera House to the Royal Tournament and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. "I am delighted to become a president of the ALD - and even more delighted to serve alongside an old friend and colleague", says Ornbo. "Richard and I first worked as a double-act over 40 years ago and it seems very appropriate that we should finish our scramble up the theatrical ladder sharing what must be one of the most prestigious positions in the world of lighting."

Chairman of Theatre Projects Consultants, in addition to being one of the world's leading theatre design consultants, Richard Pilbrow is a theatre, film and television producer plus an internationally known author and stage lighting designer. Now based in the US, his lighting design has won numerous awards including the Outer Circle Critics Award for Showboat on Broadway, a musical for which he also won a Dora Award in Toronto and a US NAACP Award for the US tour. Richard, the ALD's first member, was similarly pleased to become a president: "An honor to follow Michael Northen. What fun - a double-act again! This year is Theatre Projects' 45th birthday and Robert was there pretty damned early, so we do go back!"

A volunteer association originating from the Society of British Theatre Designers, the ALD exists to provide a resource and forum for discussion plus development of artistic and creative aims amongst lighting designers from the fields of theatre, television, architecture, education, industrial and corporate presentation and manufacturing. For more information on the ALD, visit www.ald.org.uk.