Left: Sandy Nairne, the new Director of the National Portrait Gallery.
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has formally approved the appointment of Sandy Nairne as Director of the National Portrait Gallery.
Mr Nairne, current Director: Programmes at Tate, worked alongside Nicholas Serota in the building of Tate Modern and the Centenary Development at Tate Britain.
The Chairman of the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery, Sir David Scholey, said: "The Trustees were fortunate in having a strong list of applicants and are delighted with the appointment of Sandy Nairne as the new Director."
Sir David added: "He has considerable knowledge of British history and a wide range of experience in both historical and contemporary arts. Inheriting the splendid legacy of Charles Suamarez Smith, Sandy Nairne has all the qualities and qualifications to lead the National Portrait Gallery into an exciting future."
Nairne has also been Assistant Director at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, Director of Exhibitions at the ICA, Director of Visual Arts for the Arts Council of Great Britain and has worked extensively as a curator and a writer.
The successful candidate said: "I am honoured to have been invited by the Board of Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery to become Director. Following the outstanding achievements of Charles Saumarez Smith this is a great time for the National Portrait Gallery, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead it in the years ahead."
The position was vacated by Charles Saumarez Smith when he took up the Director's post at the National Gallery.
He said: "I was very delighted to receive the news of the appointment. I have the highest regard for him as someone with long experience of arts management and administration, with a particularly good knowledge of contemporary art practice."
Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone added: "I very much welcome Sandy Nairne's appointment as Director of the National Portrait Gallery. He already has considerable experience of working at a senior level at one of our great national galleries and he joins the National Portrait Gallery at an exciting time in its development. I wish him all the best for the future and look forward to working with him."