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Saturday, January 29, 2022

QMA’s executive director steps down after criticism



The acting CEO and executive director of the Qatar Museums Authority is stepping down after three years at his post, QMA has announced.

Edward Dolman is not renewing his contract with QMA because he is returning to London and New York next month, the museums authority said in a statement issued this morning.

Dolman joined QMA in 2011, after serving as the chairman of Christie’s International, the world’s largest arts auction house. He and others in the authority came under fire last fall after some members of the Qatari community expressed dissatisfaction with how QMA was spending its funds.

In August, the museums authority responded to the critiques by saying it would be restructuring its organization into a “private entity for public good,” transitioning it away from being state-run.

At the time, QMA chairperson Shaikha Al Mayassa Al Thani, sister of the current Emir, expressed full support for Dolman, and said the authority needs to hire “experienced expats.” She continued:

“All his staffing decisions have been made based on professional merit and have no foundation in cultural divisiveness as suggested recently by a journalist in the social media.

Our Qatari to non-Qatari staff is a reflection of the reality of our society. Experts and specialists are employed on the basis of need; parallel to this we have over 60 scholars studying under QMA scholarship — studying subjects such as urban planning, architecture, art history and fine arts.”

Waiting for new head

Today’s press statement made no mention of Dolman’s replacement. However, in an internal memo sent to QMA staff today, Sheikha Al Mayassa said that she would be working closely with Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud to appoint a new CEO.

Al Mahmoud was appointed as a new special advisor to the chairperson last month, spurring rumors at the time that he would be Dolman’s replacement.

The chairperson added that the new advisor’s experience would help ease the transition following Dolman’s departure:

“(Al Mahmoud’s) depth of knowledge and experience will be of invaluable assistance in this period of transition. Ed Dolman will continue in his role as Acting CEO and Executive Director of the QMA until he leaves in May.”

Al Mahmoud, a Qatari, serves on the executive board of the Doha Film Institute, and has also worked at the Qatar Investment Authority. According to his biography on DFI’s website, he also has held executive board appointments at the Qatari Diar, Qatar National Bank and Hassad Food Company.

Dolman will continue to remain a member of QMA’s International Advisory Board. In remarks released by QMA today, he thanked the chairperson for her vision and commitment to the arts. He also said:

“My decision to leave was a difficult one, but I know that the QMA will continue to deliver world-class arts institutions over the coming years and, in doing so, will create better understanding between the world’s many cultures and faiths. We all look forward to the opening of the National Museum of Qatar in two years’ time.”


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