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Janet Vitmayer to step down as Horniman Chief Executive

Janet Vitmayer CBE is to step down as Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens in South London in May 2018, she announced today 18 July 2017.

She will retire from the post she has held since 1998, but will continue to be active in the wider museum sector including retaining her Trusteeships at the Hunterian Collection and the Florence Nightingale Museum.

In her 20 years at the helm of the Horniman, Janet has led a series of successful capital developments and fundraising campaigns, resulting in the transformation of its galleries, buildings and Gardens, and an increase in visitor numbers of over 300%.

Her final development project for the Horniman – a major redisplay of the Designated anthropology collection – will see the opening of a new World Gallery in Spring 2018 and a new Studio space later next year. Janet leaves the organisation with funding awarded for the next five years as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, and with ongoing core funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as an arm’s length body.

The Board of Trustees of the Horniman, headed by Chair Eve Salomon, has appointed Odgers Berndtson to help recruit a successor.

Janet Vitmayer, Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘It has been a privilege to work at the Horniman among its world class collections and alongside such passionate and dedicated staff, volunteers and partners. Although I will be leaving at an incredibly exciting time – with two new galleries on the horizon and a record number of visitors – I feel that it is time to hand over to a new director to guide the Horniman through the next chapter in its history.’

Eve Salomon, Chair of the Board of Trustees says: ‘Janet’s time at the Horniman has been transformative and her departure is a great loss to us. I look forward to working with her for her final months at the Horniman, knowing she will be handing over a museum and gardens that has never been more vibrant and popular.’

Janet has worked in museums for 40 years at both national and local level. She has chaired the Wellcome Trust Culture and Society Capital Awards Committee and the Women Leaders in Museums Network. She has served on expert panels and has wide experience of museum boards including Visitor University of Oxford (Pitt Rivers); Trustee London Transport Museum; Trustee Collections Trust; HLF Expert Panel; and Project Board for Wellcome Collection.