ICA head leaves post early after criticisms

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The Independent Culture

Institute of Contemporary Arts executive director Ekow Eshun has left his role three months early after accusations of "poor management".

Mr Eshun has repeatedly blamed the organisation's poor financial performance over the last two years on the recession. But a report leaked to The Art Newspaper specifies a mixture of "poor management" and "bad luck" for the organisation's recent failings. Eshun left his post on 30 November.

The report's key finding was that the ICA's management style was too "hands off". The report was commissioned as a pre-condition for the organisation's application for emergency funding to Arts Council England. It also stated that senior ICA figures "would benefit from leadership development and executive coaching".

Other problems highlighted include a lack of financial planning in the development department, meaning the organisation's "income has been boosted by opportunistic one-off projects, sales, and lucky breaks".

In an interview earlier this year, Mr Eshun said: "The truth is [the finances] were in a more difficult place than I was aware of."

An ICA spokesperson said Mr Eshun's decision to leave the organisation three months early was agreed "quite amicably" with the board.

Eshun's resignation follows Alan Yentob's departure as chair of the ICA's board in October.

A new executive director has not yet been announced.