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Portrait of an arts chief as a doomed man

And so the pressure moves off the shoulders of Andrew Dixon, departing chief executive of Creative Scotland, and on to its board, led by Sir Sandy Crombie.

News of Mr Dixon's resignation was in the offing some time. The Herald learned last week he had been signed off sick and he was, we were told, contemplating his future.

He has now resigned and will be leaving at the end of January. The search for a new chief executive will begin, but the body which the new leader will lead will have to look and feel different to the one led by Mr Dixon.

That is the settled wish of the national artistic and creative community which Mr Dixon, in his departing quotes, feels he could not win over, despite his personal positivity and apparent view, for months, that difficulties were merely a problem of communication.

Mr Dixon, who has his own skills and qualities, at times this year seemed to convey the sense that once companies and artists understood what Creative Scotland were really doing, then peace would break out.

But the problem wasn't only communication: it was what Creative Scotland was doing.

This ranged from axing Flexible Funding, to the language it used, to its desire to get involved in curating and commissioning as its own hybrid mix of arts funder and creative industries investor, from not having individual funding streams for each genre of the arts to unfortunate incidents like the all-male judging panel of its awards, among a litany of other mis-steps.

Now, one cannot envisage, as one noted Scottish philosopher once sang, the board "ripping it all up" to start again.

But one can imagine the board looking seriously at the roles and make-up of the senior management team.

It could look at how specialist knowledge inside the body is used, how short-term funding can be sustainable in the long term, what exactly it can and cannot do with its Lottery money, how to best speak and communicate with artists, and, perhaps most importantly, how a fresh start can be delivered in reality. Because the body cannot just carry on as it is, minus just one key executive.

It is notable, in his parting words, that Mr Dixon regrets not being able to "gain the respect and support of some of the more established voices in Scottish culture".

That could mean many of the names which signed the fatal "100 artist" letter in early October. He was personally shocked by the letter when it appeared. He should not have been.

And maybe if he had properly grasped earlier the scale and intent of the many concerns of artists, companies and even the Culture Secretary, his resignation may not have been as inevitable as it seemed last night.

After all, the buck stopped with him, and up until yesterday, no one had taken responsibility for the calamitous year the arts funding body has had.

But, by November, his relations with key players in the arts world in Scotland were just too fractured.

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