Michael Lynch Quits Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Michael Lynch. Photo: West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

Michael Lynch has announced his resignation as CEO of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, becoming the third chief to do so before the end of his contract.

Lynch will depart on August 3, vacating the top position in the governing body of Hong Kong’s future arts hub, one of the largest of its kind in the world with 17 core arts and cultural venues including M+, a museum of modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design. (See Jacques Herzog Says Hong Kong Could Do More for the Arts.)

The former head of the Sydney Opera House, Lynch had only renewed his contract this past July, and his role was scheduled to end midway through 2016. He cited reasons of personal health for his decision.

“It’s a sad day for me,” said Lynch at a local press conference on February 10. He was visibly emotional. “It’s been a tough year for me. My wife is seriously ill … I need to spend more time with her.”

“I had polio as a child,” he added, “and it has had some impact.”

Lynch succeeded Graham Sheffield (the former artistic director of the Barbican) who quit the Hong Kong job in 2011 after five months, also citing health reasons. Before that, former Disney executive Angus Cheng Siu-chuen lasted in the post for only a week in 2009 before departing for personal reasons.

The search for a new CEO will be led by Hong Kong’s chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

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