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Charles Saumarez Smith joins the Royal Academy of Arts

National Gallery statement following the announcement of Charles Saumarez Smith as the new Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts

Issued March 2007

From Peter Scott QC, Chairman of the National Gallery.

"The Chairman and Trustees are sorry indeed to see the departure of Charles Saumarez Smith to the Royal Academy.

He will be a great loss to the National Gallery. He has enjoyed nearly five years of remarkable achievement as our Director.

He displayed extraordinary determination and campaign planning in securing the Madonna of the Pinks for the nation.

He has overseen a run of hugely successful exhibitions such as Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio and Velázquez and his focus on improving visitor services resulted in the opening of the east wing and a complete refurbishment of the new spectacular entrance area - a legacy that will be of enormous benefit for future generations of visitors.

He has expanded the Gallery's contemporary artists' programme which has delivered new kinds of audiences and he leaves the National Gallery in robust health with an increase in visitor numbers of 9% last year.

We have enjoyed working with him and wish him every success at the Royal Academy."

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