Adrianne LeMan has resigned from her position as president of the Chartered Society of Designers, becoming the second consecutive holder of the title to resign mid-term.
LeMan declines to comment on her departure beyond saying: “I very much regret having to take the decision to resign.” She pledges her continued support to the society. But sources close to the CSD say she left because of continued internal opposition to her attempts to forge links between the CSD, other design bodies and industry in general.
LeMan’s resignation was accepted by CSD Council at a special meeting on 19 November. The meeting came a week after the sudden departure of CSD acting director Maria Luniw (DW 27 November), who is believed to have been sacked. But sources close to the CSD say LeMan actually informed CSD Council of her resignation two weeks before the meeting, meaning CSD members were unaware of her departure for a month.
Former CSD president Nick Jenkins, who resigned mid-term last year but remains a member of the CSD, was informed of LeMan’s departure by post on 1 December. “There was no explanation, so
I have no idea why she left. It does not surprise me,” he says.
A spokesman for the CSD denies members were kept in the dark for a month. “All the members have been told. It couldn’t have been done any quicker than this,” he says. “It’s not a conspiracy of silence. It’s just the way things are.”
Lin Gibbon, formerly president elect, was confirmed as the new CSD president at the November meeting. “I am both honoured and excited to be taking over as president at a time when our profile has never been higher. The executive committee acknowledges the excellent work carried out by Adrianne during her presidency, and welcomes the fact she is keen to retain some input,” she says. According to an official statement from the CSD, LeMan becomes “immediate past president”.
For personal reasons Gibbon was unavailable for further comment on her plans for increased unity among design bodies.
Design Business Association chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill says the loss of LeMan may not damage chances of unity between industry bodies. But, he says, “to lose one president may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.”
Design Council design and communications director Sean Blair says LeMan’s resignation is a “great shame”, and that the resignation of two presidents over such a short period of time suggests the CSD has constitutional problems.
CSD track record
June 1997 Nick Jenkins resigns CSD presidency half way through his two-year tenure, over frustrations
July 1997 Adrianne LeMan officially takes over the role of CSD president
November 1998 Maria Luniw leaves CSD director role after six months. She is believed to have been sacked
December 1998 LeMan’s resignation from CSD presidency is discovered. She is believed to have quit for the same reasons as her predecessor, Jenkins