Arts quango Creative Scotland has revealed that its acting chief executive, Iain Munro, is to be given the job on a permanent basis - 15 months after his predecessor quit after widespread criticism over its handling of public money.
Mr Munro was deputy chief executive under Janet Archer when a parliamentary enquiry found that its decision-making on long-term backing for organisations had fallen “well below” the standard expected of a public body.
He was placed in temporary charge of the organisation, which has an annual budget of £90 million, when Ms Archer bowed to pressure from politicians and arts organisations last July after six months of controversy and calls for change at the top of the quango.
Although he has overseen the launch of the new Screen Scotland agency, the film and TV sector is still awaiting news on a much-anticipated studio on Edinburgh’s waterfront.
Mr Munro has been handed the responsibility of steering Creative Scotland into its new area, ahead of its 10th anniversary next year. Its first chief executive, Andrew Dixon, resigned at the end of 2012 following a campaign by artists over the way it was being run.
Mr Munro and Robert Wilson, the chair of Creative Scotland’s board, have led an internal review of the organisation in the wake of anger over moves to strip 20 arts organisations of their long-term funding and a partial u-turn on some of the decisions after online campaigners were launched and the Scottish Government intervened.
Ms Archer quit weeks after the probe from Holyrood’s culture committee found that the confidence of the cultural sector in Creative Scotland had been “badly damaged.”
A number of arts companies and organisations which lost out in the three-year funding round at the beginning of 2018 have since folded, including outdoor events experts NVA, dance company Plan B and theatre company Fire Exit.
The quango launched an international search in August for “an inspirational and visionary leader, who understands Scotland’s unique cultural landscape and who can set and deliver the current and long-term goals, meeting any challenges that arise.”
An announcement about Mr Munro’s role, which comes with a £117,500 salary, said more than 200 applications from around the world had been received.
Mr Wilson, who was appointed in February 2018, weeks after the controversial cuts were unveiled, said: “Iain has outstanding leadership skills and will be able to use his extensive knowledge and abilities to continue to move the organisation forward in what is a significant time in the evolution of Creative Scotland. I look forward to working with him as we deliver significant change programmes across our work to enable creative activity across Scotland to thrive.”
Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This is an important time for Creative Scotland as it progresses its organisational and funding review and I am pleased Iain will lead the organisation as it looks ahead to the future.”