FD takes over for NMEC’s last days.

The New Millennium Experience Company, operator of the Dome, has appointed finance director Robin Hewes as chief executive on a salary of #300,000 to wind up the company.

A spokesman for NMEC said Hewes had been appointed on a six-month contract starting on 26 June, and would be responsible for winding up the company when it enters voluntary liquidation at the end of the year.

Hewes’ salary will more than treble that of his troubled predecessor, Pierre Yves Gerbeau, who launched a failed attempt to buy the Dome in order to run it as an entertainment venue.

Previously, Hewes served as finance director at NMEC on a six-month contract from 14 December last year. ‘He is now the chief executive on a new six-month contract. His annualised salary (as FD and CE) works out at #300,000,’ a spokesman said.

The appointment of Hewes comes soon after NMEC released its first annual report.

The report said that, in terms of costs, the Dome and its contents had fallen within a projected budget of #750m. Executive chairman David James said the biggest problem had been the failure to attract a forecasted 12 million visitors.

Despite being the most popular tourist attraction in Britain last year, NMEC was forced to ask for an additional #230m in National Lottery grants to keep the Dome operational.

Last week in parliament, shadow culture secretary Peter Ainsworth criticised the costs so far of closing the Dome, which run to around #7.4m.

Last weekend saw the Wellcome Trust, Britain’s wealthiest charity, with around #15bn of assets, emerge as a possible bidder for the Dome.

A longer version of this story is at Public+Services/1123585


Rob Hewes was preceded as FD by Neil Spence, who was forced to resign after criticism of the Dome’s management. In March, the NMEC revealed it would not pay him a bonus. Steve Brown, the FD before Spence, was paid only #9,000 of a possible #55,000 bonus.

See Business/1111410 for more on the Dome.

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