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Murray expected to be museum CEO

Former Tory leader may be named this week

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/9/2009 (3976 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA -- Former Manitoba Tory leader Stuart Murray is awaiting federal confirmation as the first CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

An announcement rolling out the new role for the former leader of the provincial Tories is expected as early as this week.

Stuart Murray

Stuart Murray

Murray, who left politics in 2006, is currently the CEO of the St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation.

A source close to the museum confirmed to the Free Press that Murray was chosen to be the first person to lead the new museum.

The search to fill the position took almost a year and included the federal government rejecting at least one of the candidates chosen by the museum's board of directors.

The formal announcement could come as early as today, though the source said Murray still has to be approved by Ottawa.

The appointment of Murray's one-time rival, Gary Doer, as the next Canadian ambassador to the United States has raised eyebrows within Conservative circles because of Doer's NDP affiliation. Some felt the government should also find soft landings for loyal Conservatives such as Murray and Gary Filmon.

Murray was reportedly in the running for the Manitoba Senate vacancy that went to Conservative party president Don Plett.

Neither Heritage Minister James Moore's office nor museum staff would confirm Murray as the new CEO, nor would they say when the announcement will be made.

"When we're ready to announce we'll let you know," said Moore's director of communications, Deirdra McCracken.

Calls to Murray were not returned.

The search for the CEO began about 12 months ago, shortly after the board of directors was named in late August 2008.

Patrick O'Reilly was hired as the museum's chief operating officer in October 2008.

The CEO position is classified by Ottawa as a CEO level 3 which has a salary range of $167,300 to $196,900. It is the same level position as the heads of the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Gallery of Canada and the National Museum of Science and Technology.

Ottawa has approved an annual operating budget of $21.7 million. The museum's board has been negotiating with the different levels of government to help cover an expected $9-million annual payment to the city of Winnipeg in lieu of taxes.

The museum is a Crown corporation and the first new national museum in Canada in 40 years. It is the first museum to be located outside of the Ottawa region.

Construction is underway and the doors are to open in spring 2012.

Murray has a diverse resume with experience in politics, the arts and business. Among his former jobs are road manager for the rock band Blood Sweat and Tears, media director for the Canadian Opera Company and CEO of Domo Gasoline.

In 1999, he chaired the World Junior Hockey Championship in Winnipeg.

He also spent a couple of years in the 1980s organizing former prime minister Brian Mulroney's travel tours.

In 2000, he was acclaimed as the Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader, replacing longtime premier Gary Filmon.

Murray's years on Broadway were tumultuous at best. He was a rookie politician tapped to head a party deeply fractured after its 1999 election defeat and the burden of the vote-rigging scandal as well as broke thanks to new fundraising rules that eliminated the party's reliance on corporate donors.

Murray stepped down as leader in November 2005 after a leadership review resulted in just 55 per cent support from his party.

He resigned as the MLA for Kirkfield Park in September 2006 to take the job at the hospital foundation.


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