The National Theatre has appointed an executive director to succeed Genista McIntosh, who has fulfilled the role for most of the past 11 years.
Nick Starr, who has performed the same role at the much smaller, though enormously successful, Almeida Theatre in London since 1996, joins this spring. He will work with Trevor Nunn, the artistic director, in his final months in the job before Nicholas Hytner takes over in April next year.
Although the artistic director is the kingpin of the theatre, the job of executive director means more than straightforward administration. A spokeswoman said. "He will work with the director on the overall artistic direction and management of the theatre and implementing the artistic vision."
The role also involves lobbying and liaising with bodies including the Arts Council, which funds the National. The Arts Council and the theatre's board were involved in making the appointment.
Mr Starr said he was delighted to be appointed. "The National is a unique institution – there is a genius to the place. In Trevor Nunn, I get to work with one of the world's greatest directors. With Nick Hytner, I am yoked with the best possible choice as Trevor's successor and I am taking over from someone I admire boundlessly."
Genista McIntosh's departure comes after nearly 11 years at the National, barring a short, unhappy spell as chief executive at the Royal Opera House. She is to become principal of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. But she has also been a working peer since 1999 and has been increasingly busy at the Lords.
Mr Starr was part of the team dealing with the Almeida's temporary move to King's Cross while refurbishment is carried out. At the National, where he was once an assistant producer and its head of planning, his budget will be bigger. But Trevor Nunn has admitted it is still a headache trying not to go into the red.