Sadler's Wells chief quits 18 months early for Paris job

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The head of Sadler's Wells has departed more than 18 months early after his unexpected appointment in January as the director of one of France's most prestigious theatres.

Jean-Luc Choplin was appointed director of the Théâtre Du Châtelet in Paris, just over a year into his five-year contract with the London dance company, causing speculation that his early departure was because of clashes with staff and his unease at the lack of government subsidy.

Sadler's Wells said although he was not due to take up his new job until autumn 2006, after the retirement of the Châtelet's director Jean Pierre Brossmann, he had left the company.

The London company has reorganised its senior management, dividing the artistic and administrative roles which M. Choplin combined. Alistair Spalding, the director of programming, has been appointed interim artistic director and Chrissy Sharp, formerly the director of the Sydney Arts Festival, is interim general manager.

A spokeswoman for Sadler's Wells said: "We believe this is an understandable arrangement, given the need for Mr Choplin to prepare for his new role."