Royal Academy boss Charles Saumarez Smith steps down after 11 years

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Sir Charles said he is leaving at a time of “obvious strength and success”

Sir Charles Saumarez Smith is to leave as secretary and chief executive of the Royal Academy of Arts after 11 years.

Sir Charles has overseen redevelopment of the London institution plus blockbuster exhibitions of artists like David Hockney and Anish Kapoor.

RA president Christopher Le Brun said he had been one of the “most successful of all Royal Academy secretaries”.

Sir Charles will leave at the end of the year and said he was departing at a time of “obvious strength and success”.

Just over a million people visited the gallery in 2017, and a £56m redevelopment of the site was unveiled earlier this year.

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Grayson Perry unveiled this year’s Summer Exhibition as his alter-ego Claire, while dressed as a clown

“I have been at the RA for 11 very interesting, rewarding and creative years,” Sir Charles said.

Founded in 1786, the RA puts on a wide-range of exhibitions including its annual the Summer Exhibition, which this year was co-ordinated by artist Grayson Perry.

Prior to his current role, Saumarez Smith served as director at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery.

He was knighted in 2018 for his service to the arts and will take up a new role as senior director at contemporary art gallery Blain Southern.

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