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Letter: By the book

Stephen Fay reports that Lord Chadlington, the chairman of the Royal Opera House board, recently asked Chris Smith, the new Secretary of State for Heritage, for permission to ignore "customary procedures" in the appointment of a new chief executive ("And then she was gone", Review, 18 May). Last year, the president of the Royal Academy, Sir Philip Dowson, asked the members to allow him to appoint a new Secretary, on the spot and without even disclosing his identity. What is it about our arts institutions that is fostering such disdain for institutional "due process"?

Michael Daley

East Barnet, Hertfordshire