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V&A director to stand down due to sorrow over Brexit vote

Lauretta Roberts
05 September 2016

Director of the V&A Martin Roth, who has presided over some of the museum's most successful exhibitions and whose mission was to make the museum more international, is reported to be standing down this week as an expression of his sorrow at the Brexit vote.

Martin Roth, who is German, is believed to be preparing to resign this week out of fear that Britain will become more insular as a result of the decision to leave the EU. According to reports, Roth had spoken of his dismay at the "war rhetoric" used in the run-up to the vote.

He is understood to have received the result of the Brexit vote as a personal defeat. He recently told a German broadcaster DW that Europe for him "was synonymous with peace", reports The Guardian. “I didn’t want to be a German. I did not want to grow up in a country that had killed a huge part of its population. So for me, Europe always gave hope for a peaceful future, based on sharing, solidarity and tolerance. Dropping out always means creating cultural barriers and that worries me,” he said.

Roth is believed to be the most successful director of the V&A since Roy Strong in the 1970s. His most successful exhibitions have included David Bowie is in 2013 and Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty. The latter, which took place in 2015, attracted 500,000 visitors from 87 countries making it the V&A's most successful exhibition.

Among those believed to be in line as Roth's successor include his deputy Tim Reeve and Simon Thurley who ran the Museum of London before becoming CEO at English Heritage, a position he left last year.

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