Barbican advertises for new blood

Click to follow
The Barbican Centre yesterday gave its first explanation of the disastrous breakdown in communication that led to the November sacking of its managing director, Baroness O'Cathain, writes Marianne Macdonald.

Bernard Harty, appointed temporary managing director until 31 December, said the post will be advertised in June at a salary of about £92,000 with a January start in mind.

Mr Harty, who is not intending to apply, said the ideal person would be in their early fifties with a business background, entrepreneurial qualities and an ability to work with people.

Efforts to find a new artistic director would begin in April with an appointment to the £50,000 post in May.

The search for new blood to run Europe's largest arts and conference centre follows the Corporation of London sacking of Baroness O'Cathain shortly after her contract had been extended for three years. There had been a collapse of morale at the Barbican and widespread criticism of her management style, which led to staff sackings and resignations.

The Corporation is continuing to negotiate a severance package with the baroness. Mr Harty said it was not entirely the City's fault that it had not perceived the extent of the problems. "There were very few people saying anything to us from outside. The chairman did talk to all sorts of people up to the last moment [before the contract renewal] but he was not getting the comments that were becoming common currency. Things quite clearly did go wrong and no one wants it to happen again. It was not only a difficult situation for us but it was very sad for the baroness, too."

There is concern, however, that applicants for managing director may be deterred by the Corporation's decision to appoint an artistic director without consultation.