Culture shock

billionaires retire from leading roles in the arts

As two of the founders of Carphone Warehouse, David Ross and Sir Charles Dunstone have a lot in common.

They both went to the same public school, forged stellar careers by becoming billionaires, donated to the Conservative Party, and are generous patrons of the arts.

But, over the weekend, it emerged that the pair are stepping down as heads of two world-famous UK institutions – the Royal Opera House and the Royal Museums Greenwich – amid claims the government is waging a “war. cultural ”.

However, the reasons for their departures appear to be very different.

Sir Charles, 56, resigned as chairman of the Royal Museums Greenwich after clashing with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden over giving a second term to a trustee and scholar whose work had supported the “decolonization” of the program.

It emerged that he had resigned in February after Mr Dowden refused to reverse his decision not to re-serve on the museum board Aminul Hoque, senior lecturer in educational studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, whose the work recommends “decolonizing” the program.

The scholar and writer told the Financial Times he remained “shocked, disappointed and baffled” by Mr Dowden’s decision. Sir Charles declined to comment.