Albert Hall chief quits in shock move

Patrick Deuchar has resigned as chief executive of the Royal Albert Hall in London. The resignation shocked associates as Mr Deuchar, who has been at the Hall for eight years, has recently won pounds 40m of lottery money to fulfil his dream of opening up the Hall in the daytime with a cafe, art gallery and entertainments on site.

Mr Deuchar (right) recently married the musicals star Liz Robertson, who made her name as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on the West End stage. Professionally, too, he has been celebrating with the RAH co producing a number of extravaganzas including the ballet Swan Lake, arena operas and the Cirque du Soleil.

As chief executive, Mr Deuchar was a firm manager who made numerous personnel changes when he arrived eight years ago. He had a high personal profile, and made a point of promoting the Royal Albert Hall as a national treasure, "the nation's village hall,", and widening the Hall's use from the Proms, popular classics and Eric Clapton, to embrace circus for the first time, arena opera and latterly arena ballet. There had been reports that he had not always seen eye to eye with his trustees in recent months, but these were sharply denied by spokespeople at the Hall yesterday. Eve Hewitt, director of sales at the Royal Albert Hall, confirmed that Mr Deuchar had resigned, saying he was leaving "to pursue other interests."

But she said there had been no falling out at all between Mr Deuchar and the trustees.

Raymond Gubbay, the concert promoter who presents 50 shows a year at the RAH, said last night: "I am deeply sad that he is going. Patrick has done an incredible job in revitalising the Hall.

David Lister