MMFA
PRESS RELEASE
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts 
Statement by the Board of directors
Montreal, July 20, 2020 Much has been said and written over the past few days about the decision of the Board of directors of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to terminate Nathalie Bondil's contract as Director General and Chief Curator. The Board of directors believes that we must now turn the page and look to the future. But before doing so, it wishes to set the record straight.
 
In making this decision, the Board of directors was fully aware of the outcry the decision would elicit. The strong and emotional reaction in support of Ms. Bondil was predictable and, to some extent, completely normal. The success the Museum has enjoyed since she took office, and the institution's enviable position among the world's major museums are largely due to Ms. Bondil's enormous talent—this talent is undeniable, and the Board recognizes it.
 
However, the Board could not ignore the findings of the report it had commissioned from an independent firm specializing in human resources management. These findings, which align with several employee accounts previously reported by the union, were focused in particular on Ms. Bondil's management style and the deterioration of the workplace climate within the walls of the Museum. Her refusal to accept certain of the report's findings, her inflexibility, and her refusal to adequately implement certain of the report's recommendations left us little choice, despite many attempts by the Board to reach a solution. With full knowledge that the decision would be controversial, the Board made the decision to terminate her contract in the exercise of its fiduciary duties in the firm belief that the decision was in the best interests of the Museum and its employees.
 
It is important to add that, before this decision was made, the Board of directors attempted in good faith to reach an agreement with Ms. Bondil so that, in the final year of her contract, she could continue to focus on programming and exhibitions, and delegate her other duties to facilitate a transition that would recognize her exceptional contribution to the Museum. Ms. Bondil rejected this proposal.
 
Some have accused the Board of concealing the real reasons for the removal of Ms. Bondil. Others have requested that the report produced by the external firm be made public—which is impossible given the legal constraints designed to safeguard the confidentiality of those involved. Others have gone so far as to unfairly question the competence and motives of the Board of directors and its Chair. It was difficult to remain silent and insensitive to these insinuations.
 
The decision of Quebec's Minister of Culture and Communications to entrust to an independent firm the mandate of examining the oversight and supervision of the conduct of the Museum's affairs by its management team and Board of directors—a decision supported by the Board—will allow everyone to step back from the heightened emotions of the past week. The Board will offer its full cooperation to the Minister and will provide the independent firm with all information necessary to conduct its review, including disclosure of the report ordered by the Museum to the maximum extent legally permitted.
 
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. It has seen eras and crises pass and has always bounced back and renewed itself. The great cultural institutions of the world share this aptitude for periodic reinvention. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is one of these great institutions.
 
The search process for the Museum's new director is now underway. The chosen candidate will face the enormous challenge of succeeding someone who has contributed so much to the Museum. However, the incoming director will be backed by an extraordinary team of dedicated employees who have the Museum at heart and who share its values.  The new director will also be able to count on a Board of directors to help her or him bring the Museum to new heights.
 
In the meantime, the Executive Committee of the Board will support the Museum's Management Committee and its teams to ensure that operations continue to be carried out in the best interests of the Museum, its employees, its members and its donors. We must now move forward.


Please take note that the Board of directors will not comment this press release.

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PRESS ROOM:
mbam.qc.ca/en/salle-de-presse
INFORMATION:
Maude N. Béland
Media Relations Officer | MMFA
T. 514-285-1600, ext. 205
C. 514-886-8328
mbeland@mbamtl.org

Patricia Lachance
Media Relations Officer | MMFA
T. 514-285-1600, ext. 315
C. 514-235-2044
plachance@mbamtl.org
About the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Drawing over 1 million visitors annually, the MMFA is one of the most visited museums in Canada and North America. Its highly original temporary exhibitions combine various artistic disciplines – fine arts, music, film, fashion and design – and are exported to the four corners of the world. Its rich encyclopedic collection, displayed in its five pavilions, includes international art, arts of One World, decorative arts and design, and Quebec and Canadian art. The Museum has seen exceptional growth in recent years with the addition of two new pavilions and one new wing: the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion in 2011, the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace in 2016, and the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Wing for the Arts of One World in 2019. The MMFA complex also includes Bourgie Hall, a 460-seat concert hall, as well as an auditorium and a movie theatre. The MMFA is one of Canada's leading publishers of art books in French and English, which are distributed internationally. The Museum also houses the Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy, the largest educational complex in a North American art museum, enabling the MMFA to offer innovative educational, wellness and art therapy programmes. 
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Québec, H3G 1J5
www.mmfa.qc.ca
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