The Otago Museum's new director is Dr Ian Griffin, a
British-born professional astronomer, museum specialist and
former Nasa head of public outreach.
Dr Griffin (47), who will take up the Dunedin post in late
May, is chief executive of the Oxford Trust in Oxford,
England, a charitable foundation which encourages ''the
pursuit of science'' and related education.
He also chairs the UK Association of Science and Discovery
Centres, representing the interests of the 60 centres in
The Dunedin appointment - for which Dr Griffin will receive
total annual remuneration of $250,000 - marks the biggest
change in the Otago Museum's operational leadership in 18
The museum's previously long-serving chief executive,
Shimrath Paul, resigned last September to become head of an
Indonesian centre of excellence for cancer treatment, in
Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.
Married, with three children, Dr Griffin gained a PhD in
astronomy from University College London in 1991.
He has since held a series of senior posts, including as
director of the Museum of Science and Industry, in
Manchester, England (2004-08), and head of the Office of
Public Outreach and director of Nasa Origins Education Forum
Space Telescope Science Institute, in Baltimore, Maryland
He was also chief executive of the Auckland Observatory and
Planetarium Trust (1999-2001).
Dr Griffin said he was ''honoured and excited'' to have been
selected as the museum's next director.
''With its amazing, diverse and unique collections, the Otago
Museum can play a key role in stimulating interest in our
past,'' he said.
The museum could also ''inspire our visitors to address the
challenges we face in the future''.
Otago Museum Trust Board chairman Graham Crombie said Dr
Griffin's appointment would be ''really good, really
positive'' for the museum.
The appointment had resulted from a ''comprehensive
recruitment process'' and the board had been ''delighted''
with the quality of the candidates available.
The board had been seeking someone with demonstrated
leadership ability, who was highly regarded in the
profession, with commercial acumen and proven experience in
developing positive cultures in institutions.
Dr Griffin had a proven record and his academic and
scientific background added significant value.
The board looked forward to further developing the museum's
contribution in these areas, Mr Crombie said.
Appointing the new director was a key decision for the board
and the most important he had faced since becoming board
chairman about two years ago, he said.
Mr Crombie noted there had been significant public interest
in the director role, including the remuneration package.
The board had the package assessed by an ''independent
remuneration provider'' and an all-inclusive package of
$250,000, including vehicle use, had been agreed. Mr Paul's
salary package was $310,793.
The board had advertised internationally for a replacement,
using a recruitment agency, receiving 46 applications from
Dunedin, elsewhere in the country and abroad.
Mr Crombie said about $50,000 had been spent on the
The costs, which included advertising within New Zealand and
abroad, were ''in line'' with, or cheaper than, costs
required to obtain a chief executive for other organisations,
Asked why the new museum head was being called ''director''
as opposed to the previous ''chief executive'', Mr Crombie
said the change of name was ''simply a matter of convention''
and the underlying leadership role had remained the same.