The Board of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has accepted the resignation of Chief Executive Officer, Jan Müller.
Mr Müller is returning to his family in The Netherlands after three and a half years at the NFSA, the national institution responsible for collecting, preserving and sharing Australia’s audiovisual heritage.
Chair of the NFSA, Gabrielle Trainor AO, said Mr Müller was a leader with extraordinary capacity to transform and inspire and his influence and achievements have left their mark not only at the NFSA but across the sector, especially in digital culture.
“We are disappointed, but understand Jan’s decision. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited his ability to travel to spend time with his young family to the extent that had been possible in the past years.
“Although he has resigned as CEO, we are working to ensure Jan will remain engaged with the NFSA on our ambitious program to digitise our collection, and collaborate with other cultural institutions to enable broader access to a wide variety of Australian audiovisual cultural materials.
“Jan’s global experience added enormously to the presence and direction of the NFSA and he has set us up for even greater success.”
During his tenure at the NFSA, Mr Müller developed and implemented the institution’s Strategic Vision for a Digital Archive; secured the funding required for the NFSA to meet Deadline 2025 and digitise its massive magnetic tape collection before it is lost forever; championed technological innovation including a world-first: the encoding and preservation of moving image on synthetic DNA; prioritised public engagement with a successful exhibitions and events program; and widened the NFSA’s collecting remit to embrace video games, web video, virtual reality and other types of new audiovisual media.
Ms Trainor said the board would begin a recruitment process for a new CEO early in the new year.
“In the interim, our Chief Operating Officer, Nancy Eyers, will act as our Chief Executive. Nancy is an immensely capable executive who has been a key member of our leadership team for three years.
“She has an intimate knowledge of our digitisation program and our collection, and has been instrumental in developing our future strategy with Jan and the other members of our leadership group.”
Mr Müller said leaving the NFSA has been a difficult decision, given the strong bonds he has formed with his team, the many friends he has made across countless institutions and companies, and his deep affection for Australia.
“I have been privileged to work with a great team at the NFSA and in the GLAM sector. Together we have achieved a massive transformation of the institution, since I was appointed to the role in July 2017.
“It has been immensely rewarding to be CEO of such a wonderful, internationally-recognised institution but I feel that I must, in these new circumstances, be with my family.
“I look forward to staying involved. I would also like to thank for their support our Minister, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP and his staff, the Office for the Arts, our Board, our many friends in the Australian cultural sector and, of course, the extraordinary team at the NFSA.”
Ms Trainor said the NFSA had built a great presence on the cultural landscape with its exhibitions, and its focus on access to its collection through digitisation. “We reach approximately 10 million users through social media channels every year, and we have a great team with the know-how, attitude and relationships to continue our successes. I’m confident we will not miss a beat.
“We have shown our resilience through the pandemic and will maintain our strong momentum as leaders in the digital culture, and providers of great experiences for all those who love and learn from our unique collection of films, music, broadcast and other audiovisual and related items.”