V&A appoints medieval collector as chair

Paul Ruddock accepted the position after Sir John Tusa changed his mind



Paul Ruddock is the new chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, after Sir John Tusa’s decision to stand down before he had taken up the post. This follows the retirement of Paula Ridley, who has chaired the museum since 1998. Sir John, until recently managing director of the Barbican Centre and currently leader of the Conservative Party’s arts policy task force, was appointed as the V&A chairman on 18 June by outgoing prime minister Tony Blair. He was due to take up the post in November.

A month after the appointment, Sir John stood down, on the grounds that the V&A job could conflict with his position as chairman of London’s University of the Arts, which he assumes this month. Originally the possibility of a conflict was considered, but was not regarded as a problem. But after accepting the V&A position, Sir John admitted that “growing anxieties have surfaced”. In particular, some at the university felt that it would be difficult for Sir John to fundraise for both institutions.

On 19 July, the new prime minister, Gordon Brown, appointed Paul Ruddock as chairman of the V&A. He is chief executive of Lansdowne Partners, an investment management firm he co-founded. Mr Ruddock has been a V&A trustee since 2002 and he is also on the advisory board of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

Mr Ruddock collects medieval and renaissance sculpture, and two years ago we revealed that he was the anonymous lender of a display at the V&A (July 2005, p25). He is wealthy and is described as a “generous donor” to the museum. Mr Ruddock takes over the V&A chairmanship on 1 November, for four years.