Paul Thompson has been appointed as the new rector of the Royal College of Art in London.
Thompson, currently director of the Smithsonian Institute’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, will replace current rector Sir Christopher Frayling, who steps down from the post in September 2009.
Prior to joining the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Thompson was director of London’s Design Museum from 1992 to 2001. He has also worked for the Design Council.
Last month the RCA unveiled plans to move its art schools into a new campus in Battersea, which Frayling told Design Week would give the design school ‘room to breathe’.
Thompson says, ‘It is a tremendous honour and a privilege to be asked to lead the Royal College of Art, particularly at this exciting time in its history
‘As the world’s leading university of art and design, the college boasts an incredible heritage, outstanding staff and graduates who have gone on to make their names as leaders in their fields all over the world.’
Frayling says, ‘Paul Thompson is an excellent choice. He is well known as an energetic champion of art and design. He has managed – very well – the Design Museum and the Cooper-Hewitt. He understands arts education, and he has for a long time campaigned for the creative industries. A hard act to precede.’