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Pius Knüsel leaving Pro Helvetia

Pius Knüsel, Director of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, is leaving the Foundation at the end of September 2012. After ten years of commitment to the promotion of Swiss arts he wishes to make a career change.

Pius Knüsel has been Director of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia since 1 July 2002. He is handing over his position at the end of September 2012. After a ten-year spell, he feels it’s time for a change, so he wants to devote himself to a new challenge outside promotion of the arts. The timing for a change in management is ideal, as Pro Helvetia has successfully mastered the reorganisation triggered by the new Culture Promotion Act, and is now very well positioned. Knüsel stresses that his resignation is in no way related to the publication «Der Kulturinfarkt» that appeared in March and gave rise to some controversial reactions.

The decade during which Pius Knüsel led Pro Helvetia has been characterised by the regrouping of the branch office network, focus programmes and tight management of costs. His tenure was marked by a long list of achievements – including the reform of 2004, which under the title «Vision 70» reduced the cost base by a quarter, the Hirschhorn affair in Paris, which led to a positive evaluation for the Foundation by the Parliamentary Administration Control, the exchange programmes with Japan, China, Germany, France and Austria, the impulse programmes for folk culture and computer games, the opening of liaison offices in New Delhi and Shanghai, the initiation of the partnership with the Istituto Svizzero di Roma (ISR), and the drafting of the law on the promotion of culture, together with the corresponding development of the Foundation and the digitisation of the business processes.

Today Pro Helvetia employs over 42 full-time staff in Switzerland and 25 abroad. The administration costs amount to 14.5% of the total budget, which corresponds to the European average. It operates a cultural centre in Paris and contributes to the funding of the ISR as well as the Swiss Institute in New York. It maintains liaison offices in Warsaw, Cairo, Johannesburg, New Delhi and Shanghai. Every year Pro Helvetia processes about 3500 applications for support.

The position of a new Director will be advertised publicly in June 2012. The Foundation Board, consisting of nine members, is responsible for the selection. During the transition period Andrew Holland, Deputy Director, will manage the Foundation’s ongoing business.

Media information: Sabina Schwarzenbach, Head of Communication

Tel. +41 44 267 71 39, Fax +41 44 267 71 06, sschwarzenbach@prohelvetia.ch

Media Release of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 23 May 2012