From 1989 to 1992 he was Executive Director of The Japan Festival 1991, a major nationwide celebration of Japanese culture. He was appointed Director of the National Art Collections Fund (now the Art Fund) in 1992, a position he held until 2009.
David was chair of the campaigning organisation, Make Justice Work, from 2010 to 2013 and has served as a trustee of many organisations including the Ruskin Foundation, Butterfly Conservation and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
David grew up in Lymington, Hampshire, where he first learnt to sail. In 1973 he crossed the Atlantic in a 35-foot sloop, avoyage which he describes in Sextant. He competed in the 1974 Observer Two-Handed Round Britain Race in a Contessa 26, and has since sailed in many parts of the world. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation in 2015 and is a member of the Royal Cruising Club.
The great-great nephew of the playwright J M Barrie, David is married with two daughters and lives in West London and Emsworth, Hampshire.