Royal Armouries chief executive quits

Paul Evans’ departure means inquiry into his role in “irregularities” is dropped

LONDON. An inquiry into “irregularities” at the Royal Armouries has been dropped after the resignation of its chief executive, Paul Evans. A secrecy clause agreed as part of the deal means that the Armouries can not disclose anything about the financial matter under investigation.

The inquiry was set up last April when Ann Green, chairperson of the trustees, announced that “following internal system checks picking up potential irregularities, the board of trustees of the Royal Armouries confirms that a senior member of staff has been excluded from work to allow a full and thorough examination”.

Although not named at the time, he is Paul Evans, Master of the Armouries (a post dating back to the 15th century) and chief executive of the Royal Armouries. He is also the “accounting officer” responsible to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which funds the Armouries. It may well be unprecedented for the head of a UK national museum to have faced such an inquiry.

When Mr Evans joined the Armouries in Leeds in 2000 he had no museum experience, having worked in management for Whitbread pubs and Rank Holidays. He was promoted from chief operating officer to chief executive of the Armouries in 2003.

Mr Evans was suspended on full pay following establishment of the inquiry. In 2006/07 his total remuneration was £124,000, up from £87,000 in 2003/04. In May, the month after his suspension, he was given a doctor’s certificate, stating that he was ill. This situation continued until September, which meant he could not be required to give evidence to the inquiry.

On 30 September Mr Evans resigned from the Armouries “in order to pursue other interests”. This means the internal inquiry can no longer be pursued and the matter has been dropped. Because of the confidentiality clause, the issue under investigation and the progress made by the inquiry will presumably never be disclosed. Last month a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that it understood that the matter had been resolved “to the satisfaction of the Royal Armouries trustees”.

Joan Jacobs, administrative director of the Royal Armouries, became acting chief executive in April. She will continue in the post until Mr Evans’ successor is appointed.

Meanwhile, Mr Evans is studying for a PhD in organisational behaviour at Manchester Business School. His thesis is on “Leader-Follower dynamics in complex environments”.

The Royal Armouries operates three UK museums, in Leeds, the Tower of London and Fort Nelson. It also has a site in Kentucky in the US, which is a partnership with the Frazier International History Museum.

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