He joined the service in 2002 from Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust where he had served as its chief executive since 1998. During his time at NMS, Rintoul has been responsible for four museums and overseen the National Museum of Scotland’s £80m masterplan, which completed earlier this year after 15 years.
A spokeswoman for NMS said Rintoul would “pursue other opportunities” after he steps down. The recruitment process to find a new director has already begun and it is hoped a successor will be in place before Rintoul’s departure in spring 2020.
“Under Gordon’s tenure NMS has grown in stature and profile, becoming one of the leading museum groups in Europe, if not the world,” said Bruce Minto, the chairman of the museum service’s board of trustees.
“The transformation of the NMS is, undoubtedly, his flagship achievement; an enormous undertaking which could not have been realised without his vision, talent and determination.”
Rintoul said: “None of these achievements would have been possible without the extensive and committed work of our talented and dedicated staff and volunteers, and our committed supporters whether as donors, advisers or simply through encouraging our work. I am deeply indebted to them all for standing alongside me on this hugely enjoyable journey.”