Secretary of State for Culture, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that he will not reappoint Dame Liz Forgan as Chair of Arts Council England (ACE) when her term ends in January 2013.
Hunt praised Dame Liz as an “outstanding Arts Council chair who has made a huge contribution to the arts in this country”, but emphasised that the new chair would have to focus on increasing private donations to the arts and encourage technological change in the sector.
The first woman to hold the lofty position, Dame Liz has chaired ACE since February 2009, overseeing its assumption of the MLA’s museum and libraries responsibilities on 1 October 2011.
Prior to this she chaired the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund from April 2001 to October 2008 and was also appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to broadcasting and heritage in 2006.
In a letter to Hunt commenting on the decisions, she said: “It has been a privilege to be the first woman to the lead the Arts Council, and to do so in challenging times.
“I shall be extremely sorry to leave before the job is completed but the essence of the arms-length principle, which I wholeheartedly support, is that ministers must be able to make their appointments as they see fit.”
In response to the news, ACE Chief Executive Alan Davey said: “Liz has been an outstanding Chair and will be much missed.
“I have valued her passion, insight and strong leadership as we worked together through challenging times to deliver a sustainable future for the arts in England and to maintain their world standing.
“When Liz departs at the end of her four year term in January, she will leave behind a transformed Arts Council – one whose greater transparency and efficiency has been recognised in its being entrusted with a wider remit that includes museums, libraries and cultural education alongside the arts. And that is due, in no small part, to her stewardship.”
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that the search for a new chair will begin after Easter.
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