The British Museum’s director has left the institution due to stolen artifacts.
The institution “did not respond as comprehensively as it should have” to warnings in 2021, according to Hartwig Fischer’s statement from yesterday.
He claimed that because the situation was “of the utmost seriousness,” his presence was detracting.
He declared his intention to leave in July. In a few days, a temporary leader will be chosen.
Jonathan Williams, his deputy, will also leave his position for the duration of an impartial investigation.
A curator was fired last month after 2,000 artifacts worth millions of dollars went missing.
Additionally, Mr. Fischer claimed that remarks he made about the antiques dealer Ittai Gradel, who informed the museum of some of the stolen goods, were misinterpreted.
I have submitted my letter of resignation to the board’s chairman, and I will leave as soon as the board has decided on a plan for interim leadership, said Fischer. This will last until a new director is selected.
“The situation the museum is in is extremely serious. I genuinely think it will get through this and come out stronger, but I’ve come to the sad realization that my presence is detracting.
“The last thing I would want is that. I’ve had the honor of working with some of the most talented and devoted public servants over the past seven years. Being the director of the British Museum has been the greatest honor of my life.”
“No one has ever questioned Hartwig’s integrity,” according to trustee chair George Osborne.