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John Tusa resigns as chair of RIBA's architectural trust board

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Veteran journalist and former managing director of the Barbican Arts Centre, John Tusa, has resigned as chair of the RIBA’s British Architectural Trust Board

The reasons for his decision, which comes almost exactly a year after the departure of the RIBA’s former chief executive Harry Rich, remain unclear. 

However, it is understood Tusa has written a lengthy letter setting out his reasons to RIBA president Jane Duncan and its new chief executive, Alan Vallance.

Tusa joined the RIBA as chair of the British Architectural Trust Board (BATB) in 2014, the same year that the institute carried out a review of governance structure with an emergency task group to sort out ongoing problems with the way the organisation was run.

Elsie Owusu, a RIBA councillor and long-time critic of the board’s role and governance said: ‘I was saddened by the departure of this veteran doyen of the arts. While I have yet to see the valedictory letter, I believe John’s resignation may be a catalyst for positive change at RIBA – long overdue.

‘The monocultural RIBA board has been failing in its proper duty to support transparency, probity and accountability to the membership and profession. It should be dissolved and replaced with a body fit for RIBA’s 21st Century purpose – a diverse profession compliant with Charity Law.’

A spokesperson for the RIBA said: ‘John Tusa has stood down from his role as chair and shared his feedback, which we are considering carefully. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

‘We thank him for his contribution. We will commence a process to appoint a new chair of the BATB very shortly.’

John Tusa declined to comment.

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