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Tuesday, 22 May, 2001, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
New chairman for British Museum
British Museum's new courtyard
The British Museum's 100m new courtyard
The British Museum has announced the appointment of Sir John Boyd, former ambassador to Japan and Master of Churchill College Cambridge, as its next chairman.

I look forward to building on the museum's recent major achievements

Sir John Boyd
Sir John, who has been a trustee at the museum for the past five years, has worked closely with the Museum's department of Japanese Antiquities which is part of this year's UK-wide Japan 2001 Festival.

"I am delighted and honoured by the confidence of my fellow trustees," said Sir John.

"I look forward to building on the museum's recent major achievements."

A 100m development of the British Museum's grand courtyard designed by Sir Norman Foster was opened to general acclaim late last year.

However museum officials were accused of "dereliction of duty" by English Heritage after it was revealed contractors used the wrong kind of stone to build the South Portico feature of the London museum.

Sir John has refused to be drawn into this controversy which is currently under enquiry.

Educated at Clare College, Cambridge and Yale, Sir John joined the Foreign Office in 1962.

He is married with five children.

Sir John will take over from outgoing chairman Graham Greene when he steps down next July.

Greene said that he made the announcement early as the Museum will also need a new director next year as Suzanne Taverne will come to the end of her tenure.

"It seemed right that my successor should chair the committee charged with the search for the next director," he said.

Greene has chaired the British Museum Trustees since 1996 and been a member of the Museum's Board of Trustees since 1978.

The British Museum has 25 Trustees, one appointed by the Queen, 15 by the prime minister, one each by The British Academy, The Royal Academy, Royal Society and Society of Antiquaries of London and five by the Trustees themselves.

See also:

01 May 01 | Arts
Japan through the UK's eyes
04 Dec 00 | Entertainment
British Museum opens to controversy
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Museum stone inquiry begins
11 Apr 01 | Reviews
Cleopatra still a mystery
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