Director of Compton Verney Moves to Work with Saumarez Smith Again

The Royal Academy of Arts in London has announced the appointment of Kathleen Soriano as its new Director of Exhibitions, replacing Sir Norman Rosenthal who left earlier in 2008.  She is expected to take up the post in January, 2009.

Currently the Director of Compton Verney, Soriano was previously Head of Exhibitions and Collections Management at the National Portrait Gallery. Kathleen, who was one of the first generation of Clore Leadership Programme Fellows, was educated at the University of Leicester and previously worked at the Royal Academy of Arts in the late 1980s.

Royal Academy of Arts Secretary and Chief Executive Charles Saumarez Smith says: “I am delighted that the Royal Academy has been able to lure Kathleen Soriano away from her very successful tenure as Director of Compton Verney. Since working with her at the National Portrait Gallery, I have had the highest regard for her ability to juggle the complex demands of an international exhibition programme. I am very much looking forward to having her as a colleague.’

Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, PRA commented: “We are extremely pleased and excited with this new appointment. Kathleen was unanimously selected by the Chief Executive and a panel of Council members from a shortlist of 7 candidates. The membership and Council of the Royal Academy of Arts believe she will build on and deliver with vigour a continuing legacy of important and impressive exhibitions for which we are internationally known”.

Graham Greene, Chairman of the Governors of Compton Verney, also expressed delight. He said: “It is deserved recognition of her personal achievements and we are, by the same token, naturally very sad that our gallery will be losing Kathleen Soriano’s exceptional talents. Since her appointment as Director in spring 2006, the continuing development of Compton Verney has benefited from the energy, imagination and entrepreneurial flair that she has brought to nurturing this ‘new kid on the block’. Her successor will undoubtedly find immense scope in developing the relationships that she has begun to weave for Compton Verney regionally, nationally, and internationally. We wish Kathleen every success in her new position.”

Kathleen Soriano, said, “I am delighted to be returning to the Royal Academy of Arts. Compton Verney has presented me with the most wonderful opportunities. I leave with much fondness and enormous commitment to its aims, whilst relishing the challenges and excitement that I know lie before me at the Royal Academy.”

Dr Adrian Locke will continue as Acting Director of Exhibitions for the rest of the year. Kathleen Soriano's role is to replace that held by Sir Norman Rosenthal, who was Exhibitions Secretary at the Royal Academy of Arts for 31 years. Like Ms Soriano, Sir Rosenthal was also educated at the University of Leicester and was honoured by the University in 2006 by an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.