Director of SMAK in Ghent is Under Fire After complaints of Toxic Leadership

Friday, May 17, 2024
Director of SMAK in Ghent is Under Fire After complaints of Toxic Leadership

In Ghent, Belgium, Philippe Van Cauteren, the director of the museum SMAK, is under fire following complaints of toxic leadership.

According to De Standaard an external investigation involving all employees has revealed issues with work pressure, working conditions, and the general work atmosphere. The report will be presented to the board of directors next week.

The investigation was initiated after eight employees filed complaints. "The complaints were about psychologically inappropriate behavior," says Ghent's alderman for Culture, Sami Souguir (Open VLD). "After discussions with the union, we decided to conduct an external investigation. All staff members could participate anonymously and confidentially."

Of the 55 employees at SMAK, 41 participated in the survey to identify potential problems. "Eight had already filed complaints, and two more followed," Souguir notes, without going into specific details of the complaints. "Let's say it primarily concerns work pressure, atmosphere, and conditions on the work floor."

Steps will be taken both individually and organizationally Sami Souguir, Alderman for Culture says.

Souguir, who chairs SMAK's board of directors, received the report on Thursday evening. Next week, he will brief the entire board and the unions. "Subsequently, as legally required, an action plan will be formulated, outlining steps to be taken both on an individual and organizational level." For now, Museum Director Philippe Van Cauteren remains in his post.

Main Image :Philippe Van Cauteren, foto: Thomas-Sweertvaegher

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