Icom dismisses director general and finance chief

Hanna Pennock appointed acting director general
Patrick Steel
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The International Council of Museums (Icom) has dismissed its director general Julien Anfruns and its director for administration and finance, Lydie Spaczynski, and is under investigation by the French Ministère du Travail.

Icom will not comment on the circumstances surrounding the departures, but in a letter to the council’s committee chairs, dated 15 April, president Hans-Martin Hinz wrote: “Serious misconduct has taken place in the secretariat in the past.

"This has provoked a legal indication of termination of the working contract of one of the directors of a department in the secretariat.

“The labour inspector [from the Ministère du Travail] visited the offices and started an inquiry about the working conditions.

"If he confirms that Icom did not comply with legal provisions in the past, such as those regarding moral harassment, his report could be given straight to the state attorney.”

In a further letter, dated 29 April, Hinz wrote: “Julien Anfruns will return these days to his permanent position at the French ministry of culture, after his dismissal, which concerns personal and confidential matters.

“Even after dismissals of responsible people, we are still facing legal implications concerning the secretariat. I have been in contact with the labour inspector again and I guess the entire process will continue for a while.”

Museums Journal understands that several members of Icom’s executive council voted against the decision to dismiss Anfruns, and several national representatives have written to Hinz expressing concern over the lack of transparency around Spaczynski’s dismissal.

Anfruns said: “I was engaged five years ago by an executive council, then chaired by Alissandra Cummins, in order to modernise ICOM, to bring the organisation back to financial order following years of deficit, and to create new international partnerships. These tasks were met and the results have been very positive.

“These reforms and the recognition associated with it appear to have provoked a change of attitude for some. The difference of approach and vision with the new president in terms of governance and principles of management over the last months has resulted in a situation where I could no longer continue to fulfill the requirements of my post in a normal and sound manner.”

Icom has appointed Hanna Pennock as acting director general.

Pennock also has responsibility for ensuring the continuity of Spaczynski’s work and will remain in post until the end of 2013, covering the election of a new executive committee at Icom’s August conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The new executive committee will be tasked with the appointment of the next director general.

Lydie Spaczynski told Museums Journal she was extremely distressed by the decision to lay her off, she has strongly contested the related grounds and the methods used.

She has referred the case to the Conseil des prud’hommes (employment arbitration court) and the procedure is ongoing.

Update

04.12.2013

This piece was updated to include comment from Julien Anfruns.

23.07.2013

This piece was updated to inlcude comment from Lydie Spaczynski.



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