Museums Austria

Vienna museum reaches settlement with ousted director

A long-running court case, and one of Austria’s biggest culture scandals, is put to rest

Peter Noever. Photo: © Reuters/Lisi Niesner

The Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna (Mak) has reached a settlement with its former director Peter Noever, who was forced to resign in 2011. This puts an end to a long-running court case as well as one of Austria’s biggest culture scandals.

Noever, who was accused of grossly mismanaging the museum’s funds, has been ordered by the court to pay €104,000 in damages but, in turn, will receive €231,000 from the institution in severance pay and outstanding wages.

Noever resigned from his position as director of Mak in 2011, amid growing complaints about his use of the museum’s resources, such as the private birthday parties he hosted at the institution. A subsequent investigation by the Austrian Court of Audit also found that Noever accrued huge travel expenses, manipulated the museum’s attendance figures and showed carelessness in storing the collection.

The settlement, which was announced on Monday, will “prevent a time-consuming court procedure and the high associated legal costs”, said the museum in a press statement. “The new management can now fully concentrate on the future of Mak.”

During his 25 years as director, Noever transformed Mak into a world-class museum, working with leading artists such as the late Donald Judd to reinstall the decorative art collection. He also opened a branch in Los Angeles at the Schindler House.

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