Simon Drysdale has been made interim CEO at Tyneside Cinema, it was announced today. The news comes after CEO Holli Keeble and Chair Lucy Armstrong stepped down from their roles, and an independent review highlighted 72 recommendations for the company.
Announced via Facebook and Instagram, the Tyneside Cinema describes Simon Drysdale as “an experienced CEO with a career spanning a wide range of arts and commercial organisations and has a passion for film and cinema.”
At time of writing, the statement has not been published on Twitter, where social media presence has been particularly critical of the Cinema.
— Save Tyneside Cinema (@SaveTyneside) November 18, 2020
The Cinema faced online backlash in September when it initially announced plans to re-open, when the review was incomplete. Now, though, many people on Facebook are supportive of the decision to make plans to re-open in December. It is understood that the placement of Drysdale as interim CEO is part of these plans.
But some on Instagram have questioned the suitability of Drysdale as an interim CEO, especially dealing with an issue as sensitive as the one the Cinema is facing.
Tyneside Cinema’s initial response to the allegations came back in June. The announcement of Keeble and Armstrong’s resignations was not made until late September, after the pair faced heavy criticism on social media.
Before her resignation, in a BBC Look North interview, Armstong was asked whether she would accept that when issues were raised and action was taken, it was “hushed up”. The former Chair said that it was “not a pattern” she “recognised”, but agreed that it was a “very difficult situation” and found it “deeply concerning and saddening that people had raised it and have not felt able to.”
No statement has been released from Drysdale as yet, although the Cinema highlighted that his role will be focused on implementing the recommendations of the report.
As part of its social media announcement, the Cinema said “Together with the Tyneside Cinema Board, he will also lead the implementation of the recommendations from the recent independent review, to ensure that the cinema can reopen as a safe, welcoming, and inclusive venue.”
There remains no news about an appointed interim Chair.
Featured Image: Tyneside Cinema on Facebook
Last modified: 18th November 2020