National Theatre's first chief executive, Tessa Ross, quits after five months

Ross says the new leadership structure was not right for the organisation

National Theatre
National Theatre

The first chief executive of the National Theatre has stepped down just five months after taking up the role, saying that the organisation’s new leadership structure was "not right for the NT at this time".

Tessa Ross joined the NT as chief executive in November. She worked alongside Lisa Burger, executive director of the theatre, who has worked for the charity since 2001 and took up her current role in October. The theatre also has a new artistic director, Rufus Norris, who took up the role this month after being appointed in October 2013. He succeeds Nicholas Hytner, who had been in the role for 12 years.

In a statement issued by the charity today, Ross said: "I joined the NT last year and have got to know the organisation in great detail. However, it has become clear to me that the new leadership structure, with a separate role of chief executive, is not right for the NT at this time, and so I have decided to step down."

John Makinson, chair of the National Theatre, said: "It is with great regret that we are saying goodbye to Tessa in this role. She is an outstanding producer and executive, and has already made a significant contribution to the National. However, we recognise and salute the integrity of her decision. The NT has a strong team in place under the capable and skilful leadership of Rufus and Lisa. The National is in very good hands."

Ross will continue to work for the charity as a consultant until the end of 2015, although a spokeswoman for the charity was not immediately able to confirm how many days Ross would work each month. She had previously sat on the board of the charity for two years, resigning in February 2014, a month before being lined up as chief executive. Before taking up the chief executive’s role, Ross worked for Film4.

The charity had an income of £124.1m in the year to 31 March 2014, up from £97.6m the year before and nearly double its income of just less than £66m in the year to 28 March 2010.

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