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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Sydney boss comes to South Bank
South Bank Centre
The South Bank Centre has a grim reputation
The head of the Sydney Opera House is to lead a major redevelopment of London's South Bank arts complex.

Michael Lynch, chief executive at the iconic Sydney harbour landmark, will take on the same role at the South Bank Centre (SBC) from September.

He said he was thrilled with the challenge of leading "potentially the world's greatest arts centre".


The Royal Festival Hall was the inspiration for the Sydney Opera House

Michael Lynch
Lord Hollick, chairman of the SBC, said: "He is just the man for the job."

The 27-acre area - considered by many to be a concrete jungle - is to be transformed at a cost of tens of millions of pounds.

Work has already begun to tear down overhead walkway at the complex, next to Waterloo Bridge, and revamp the Royal Festival Hall.

Mr Lynch has led the Sydney Opera House since 1998 and had previously been manager of the Australia Council as well as being involved in theatrical management earlier in his career.

Crucial stage

Last year he was awarded the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to arts administration.

He said: "I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead SBC in the next crucial stage of its development.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House is world famous
"This is potentially the world's greatest arts centre, attracting the very best artists and performers.

"The Royal Festival Hall was the inspiration for the Sydney Opera House.

"I look forward to working with the South Bank team - we have exciting challenges ahead."

Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone said: "This appointment is excellent news.

"The South Bank Centre is still one of the main focal points for the arts in London.

"But its redevelopment is essential if it is to retain its world-wide reputation for artistic excellence."


In DepthIN DEPTH
BBC News Online looks at how the arts are funded in the UKArts funding
How the UK's cash for the arts is spent
See also:

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