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West Kowloon Cultural District

Australian invited to head arts hub

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 May, 2011, 12:00am

Renowned Australian arts administrator Michael Lynch has been offered the job of chief executive of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and could be appointed by the end of the month.

Lynch (pictured), former chief executive of the Southbank Centre in London, would replace Graham Sheffield, who quit abruptly early this year, citing ill health.

The former chief executive of the Sydney Opera House will be in Hong Kong on June 1 to give a keynote speech at a cultural leadership summit co-presented by the Hong Kong Arts Administrators Association and the arts hub authority.

'[Lynch's] credentials and reputation are even better than Graham Sheffield's,' a top government official with knowledge of the offer said. An insider said it was hoped an announcement would be made by the end of next week.

Attempts to reach Lynch directly and through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, of which he is a board member, were unsuccessful.

A spokesman for the ABC said Lynch had no comment.

When asked, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, who is also chairman of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, and a spokesman for the authority did not deny that Lynch had been offered the job.

Lynch, chief executive of the Sydney Opera House from 1998 to 2002 and head of the Southbank Centre from 2002 to 2009, was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2008 for service to the arts.

Sheffield was artistic director of the Barbican Centre in London for 15 years.