MMFA: members exclude Michel de la Chenelière from the board

Michel de la Chenelière was excluded from the board of directors of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in the elections held Tuesday night. The one who was chairman of the board will therefore not have survived the crisis triggered by the dismissal of the former CEO, Nathalie Bondil.

Four administrator positions were at stake on Tuesday. However, three of the four candidates strongly recommended by the nomination committee of the council were beaten with Mr. de la Chenelière, who was the main spokesperson for the council through the controversy caused by the break with the flamboyant conservative in chief.

This means that three of the four external candidates – Caroline Codsi, Valentine Goddard and Claudette Hould – were elected. They had all shown their sympathy for Mrs. Bondil.

Note that Tuesday’s elections do not change the fact that patron Pierre Bourgie is the new chairman of the board. Mr. de la Chenelière had indicated two weeks ago that he was resigning his post as president, but that he remained running for re-election as director. Mr. Bourgie was then appointed by the board – the choice of chair is not up to the members.

The MMFA’s annual general meeting does not usually make the headlines. But in the particular context of this year, this was the only opportunity for several members to make their position known on the controversial Board decision. When this text was put online, the question period by members was starting. There were more than 1,400 online (out of 53,000 members who were eligible to vote).

Work atmosphere

The Board has always justified the dismissal of Ms. Bondil because of the “toxic” work climate that she would have allowed to settle and tolerated at the Museum.

Rather, she argues – and this is the heart of the argument for the two million lawsuit that she recently filed against each member of the board of directors – to have been dismissed in reaction to her “refusal to publicly confirm. the irregular process that led to the hiring of the MMFA’s Director of Conservation ”, Mary-Dailey Desmarais.

Faced with this, the government of Quebec – the largest financial support for the Museum with 16 million last year – appointed an independent expert to look into the governance of the Museum (both that exercised by the general management and by the board of directors).

Published last week, its report argues that the board of directors has, in the crisis surrounding the departure of Nathalie Bondil, “acted in good faith, putting the best interest of the MMFA and the obligation to comply with its obligations. towards employees ”.

After consulting the work climate diagnosis carried out by an independent firm at the request of the Board – a secret document that motivated the board’s decision to act against Nathalie Bondil – the Quebec expert concluded that the climate problem of work was “meaningful”. “The results of the diagnosis are considered valid and credible,” he wrote.

Further details will follow.

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