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Sir Mark Jones named as interim director of British Museum following Hartwig Fischer’s resignation

Sir Mark Jones has been named as the interim director of the British Museum by the board of trustees.

He will replace Hartwig Fischer who resigned last week over the theft of around 2,000 artefacts from the world famous London museum.

The museum’s chairman George Osborne, said that Sir Mark – a former boss of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum – “received the unanimous approval” of trustees.

His appointment must still be signed off by the prime minister before he is appointed.

Mr Osborne, a former chancellor of the exchequer, described Mr Jones as “one of the most experienced and respected museum leaders in the world,” who will “offer the leadership and grip needed right now”.

He said: “We are both clear that his priorities are to accelerate the cataloguing of the collection, improve security, and reinforce pride in the curatorial mission of the museum.

“This sits alongside the major renovation work we’re undertaking, and the partnerships we’re forging, to ensure that we build a stronger future for the museum we all love and admire.

“I promised we would learn lessons and then lay the foundations for a strong future. Mark’s appointment is a big step in that direction. I look forward to working together.”

Sir Mark is the founding director of National Museums Scotland and chairman of the National Trust for Scotland.

He has also previously worked at the British Museum, where he served as keeper of the coins and medals department.

Last month the museum was plunged into crisis when it admitted that it had sacked a senior curator Peter Higgs after it was discovered that gems, jewellery and other treasures had been stolen from its vaults.

Mr Higgs was sacked in July after the disappearance of artefacts worth tens of millions of pounds for years, some of which have been sold online.

Higgs, 56, has not commented on the thefts but his son, Greg says he has not committed any wrongdoing.

Mr’s Fischer deputy last week announced shortly before Mr Fishcher resigned that he will be stepping back from his ”normal duties”.

The pair’s move comes after a whistleblower said concerns he raised about the thefts two years ago were “fobbed off”.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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