She will be executive director alongside Trevor Nunn, when he takes over from Sir Richard Eyre as the theatre's director in October. The two spent 14 years working together at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.
Announcing the appointment yesterday, Mr Nunn said he was delighted that Ms McIntosh would be with him to assist the changeover. "She was widely acknowledged as a brilliant executive director of the National from 1990- 1996 and she and I worked closely together at the RSC from 1972 to 1986. So with certain knowledge, I can say this is a great day for me, for the National Theatre and theatre in this country."
Ms McIntosh said she was very pleased. "I feel very lucky. I wasn't expecting to be available so this was a most happy connection of circumstances."
She resigned as pounds 100,000-a-year chief executive at the Royal Opera House in May after only four months. Ill health was given as the reason for her departure although attention also focused on the enormous difficulties of running the problem-plagued institution. At a parliamentary select committee hearing last month, she said it was her unhappiness in the job that prompted her resignation, adding: "Had I continued I might well have become ill."
Yesterday she said she had no regrets about her stint at Covent Garden. "Experiences are never wasted. They can be difficult and they can be sometimes painful and upsetting, but there's always something learnt and something gained."
Her return to the National Theatre comes as it, too, faces problems. It has pounds 1.2m less to spend this year than five years ago because the Arts Council has been unable to increase its grant to keep pace with costs. Major building works are also under way.
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