Baltic Wields Axe among Top Staff; Senior Jobs Have Been Sacrificed to Make Gateshead's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Less Top Heavy, as David Whetstone Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

ASTAFF reorganisation at Baltic has seen the departure of Andrew Lovett, number two to director Godfrey Worsdale, and a reduction in the number of senior positions at Gateshead's Centre for Contemporary Art.

While the number of posts at director level has been reduced from five to two, nine more junior staff positions are being advertised.

A Baltic spokeswoman said the moves represented a redistribution of expenditure on salaries rather than an increase in the payroll.

Mr Worsdale, who was appointed as Baltic's fourth director last August, said: "We are currently in the process of rectifying some gaps within Baltic's staff team and consolidating some temporary positions.

"When I arrived at Baltic late last year I took time to speak to each staff member individually and it was apparent that the organisation was in need of a slightly more balanced structure.

"This reorganisation has been designed to address that need." The number of director-level posts rose to five under Mr Worsdale's predecessor, Peter Doroshenko, who left under a cloud at the end of 2007 after being criticised by staff for a heavy-handed management style.

The reorganisation sees the top tier of management reduced to two with Claire Byers, formerly director of public affairs, promoted to deputy director.

Mr Lovett was appointed as director of finance and resources at the Gateshead art complex in 2003, effectively as number two to founding director Sune Nordgren.

The pounds 55,000-a-year post had been upgraded at the insistence of Arts Council England after a consultants' report had raised concerns about financial procedures at Baltic during the hectic months following its opening in 2002.

Mr Lovett, from Northallerton, had previously been general manager of Steam, the Great Western Railway Museum in Swindon, Wiltshire.

At Baltic he found himself holding the reins as a succession of directors - Stephen Snoddy following Sune Nordgren and then being followed by Peter Doroshenko - came and went..

Having opted to take voluntary redundancy at Baltic he will take up a new post, as director and chief executive of the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley in the West Midlands, in August. …