Museums Sheffield chief quits as cost-cutting starts

Nick Dodd, chief executive of Museums Sheffield
Nick Dodd, chief executive of Museums Sheffield

THE Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield has quit as the organisation embarks on stringent cost-cutting measures in facing up to the loss of £800,000 of annual grant funding and other financial pressures.

Nick Dodd is to step down in June from the post he has held since 2002 after his application for voluntary redundancy was reluctantly accepted by the charity’s board of trustees late last week. It will be incorporated into the restructuring and staff reductions necessary in the wake of Museums Sheffield’s unsuccessful bid for major grants funding for the next three years from the Arts Council.

In 2012 Mr Dodd became the second chief executive since the administration of the city’s museums and galleries passed from city council control to a charitable trust in 1998.

Over his ten years Mr Dodd has seen visitor figures rise from 370,000 to more than 1.2 million in 2011. Notable achievements in that time include leading the Yorkshire Museums Hub, made up of museum services from Yorkshire’s five major cities, nurturing relationships with Tate, the V&A, and the National Portrait Gallery resulting in a series of major exhibitions, ensuring that the city’s collections were secure and accessible and the successful re-development of the award-winning Weston Park Museum.

Mr Dodd issued a statement saying: “It is with great regret that I will say goodbye to Museums Sheffield. Having led a wonderful team which has worked so hard to improve the quality of Sheffield’s museums and galleries, I would like to have left the organisation at a time when its future funding was more secure. However, I know from experience how resilient Museums Sheffield is, and I have no doubt that it will strive to come back from this loss of funding. I now look forward to ensuring a new Chief Executive is in place to lead this process from the summer.”

Sandra Newton, Chair of Museums Sheffield, said: “I would like to thank Nick very sincerely for everything he has achieved over the past ten years.

“Nick has done so much for Museums Sheffield and the city and he will be sorely missed. I have enjoyed a strong working relationship with him and I am immensely grateful for the hard work and leadership he has contributed to the organisation.”

Sheffield City Council Leader Coun Julie Dore added: “Over the last few months I have worked more closely with Nick and am sorry to see him go. He has left a great legacy and one which we are committed to working with Museums Sheffield to build upon.”

This week Museums Sheffield received confirmation of a further £341,000 in Transitional Funding from Arts Council England to help tide them over during the restructuring. It will enable Museums Sheffield to deliver an exhibition of Andy Warhol self-portraits at the Graves Gallery, a new family exhibition from the V&A, Magic Worlds at Weston Park, and a show by the Sheffield-based contemporary artist Paul Morrison at the Millennium Gallery.

Around 21 posts marked for redundancy will come to an end by March 31. Transitional Funding will allow 23 further redundancies to be temporarily pushed back into the late summer, as well as the continuation of the Fundraising post for another 12 months. This will allow the organisation to preserve other activities over the next few months and to retain the staff expertise needed to prepare the best possible bid later in the year for Renaissance Strategic support funding.

This second sum of Transitional Funding follows the previously confirmed £190,000 intended to support the current redundancy process, enable the completion of the Stories of the World, young people’s project, Precious Cargo (part of the Cultural Olympiad), and temporarily, continue museum development work in the region.