The Court of Auditors oversees the management and projects of the Center Pompidou

Appointed head of the Center Pompidou in 2021, Laurent Le Bon presented an ambitious cultural program during the five years it was closed. Program “insufficiently piloted’ and which one “funding not secured” according to the Court of Auditors.
STEFANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

Poor governance, economic model too weak, personnel management to be reviewed: judges call for closure of center between 2025 and 2030 as opportunity to put things right

While the Pompidou Center is fully considering its future, with one year remaining in a long period of closure, the Court of Auditors is publishing a highly critical report on its management. “Internal management that does not seem to be in line with the scope of the projects”economic and financial model “difficult to maintain”all this against the background of the lack of reform in the management of human resources: the complaints of the municipalities accompanied by a mountain of figures give the image of a cultural center full of shortcomings.

The extensive work planned between 2025 and 2030 will be largely paid for by the state (estimated by the Court at 358 million euros). Laurent Le Bon, president of the center, wants to go further, however, with a cultural project called Moviment (new agora, use of level minus 1 and terraces, reorganization of collections, etc.). The movement is estimated at 180 million euros, which the president intends to raise himself, from patrons and foreign partners. He explained in February that he had already found 60 million euros and had “divided into several functional blocks” his project. “By the end of 2025, we will try to find as much money as possible. If completeness is found, the entire project will be completed. Otherwise, we will do it block by block, with priority for the library – of which 20 million euros have already been funded – and the Agora, a symbol of change. he explained.

169 crore to start the work

This is all “is poorly managed and funding is not secured”judges of the Court of Auditors in turn decide for whom “169 million euros are missing to start work”. They say there is little time left to bring them together if Laurent le Bon and his teams are to achieve their goal of launching public markets.

On the sidelines of this titanic work, which was decided and approved in high places, Beaubourg began the construction of a new place of reserves, the Pompidou Center in the Ile-de-France region. Located in Massy (Essonne), it will be the site for exhibitions and conservation of 122,000 works of the National Museum of Modern Art and the National Picasso Museum. “Its price skyrocketedwe can read in the report. In the context of the public-private partnership market, initial estimates were significantly exceeded due to the underestimation of some expenditure items and the inflationary context. The result, Massy should represent “more than 254 million euros”, partially supported by communities.

Partnership abroad

So much for spending big in a situation where attendance is slow and the health crisis hasn’t helped. With a relatively low proportion of foreign visitors (36%) compared to other important museums (57 to 70%), the Center Pompidou does not seem well equipped to increase its own resources in the eyes of the municipalities. Past foreign partnerships (M├ílaga, Shanghai, Brussels, soon Seoul and Saudi Arabia) still secured revenues of 16 million euros in 2023. “The entry fee issue will be reviewed with a view to reopening in 2030,” the judges suggest.

The Court of Auditors also deals with the management of the center’s employees (1,000 jobs). It stated this in its previous report in 2014 “the need to modernize the company’s human resources management”. Gold, “almost ten years later, it is clear that no structural reform has been carried out in this area”, he notes. Position of staff, organization of working hours of shift workers (including room service), way of conducting social dialogue, etc. “The status quo no longer seems sustainable”, the court confirms. The big strikes that rocked Beaubourg for 23 days at the end of 2023 seem to have proved them right. Modernization must become a priority and closing opportunities “catch up”the judges conclude.

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