A year after his appointment as head of the MuCEM in Marseille, Emmanuel Macron's former adviser, Pierre-Olivier Costa, sees his management questioned by some of the staff who accuse him on Friday in a letter of "undermining the scientific project" of the museum.
"We have collectively acknowledged old dysfunctions, but also very recent ones," wrote representatives of the national museum's staff in a long letter addressed to Brigitte Macron's former chief of staff, which AFP has been able to consult.
The letter, signed by representatives of the SUD-Solidaires trade union, was also sent to the Ministry of Culture.
In November 2022, Pierre-Olivier Costa took over the management of the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM) located at the end of the Old Port in Marseille.
MuCEM's image "damaged"
Accusing him of not having "been able to take the measure of the suffering at work" despite having been expressed on several occasions, staff representatives explained that they had conducted a "collection survey" among "all MuCEM agents, civil servants and contractors, from assistant.es to department heads".
Among the dysfunctions pointed out, they deplore in particular "the damage to the scientific project and the image of the MuCEM" and say they regret "bitterly that scientific content and emotional content are systematically opposed, and that the richness brought to (their) institution by the world of research and creation is considered elitist".
They are also worried about the museum's reputation, which "suffers from these dysfunctions", referring to "the artists who are forced to make unclear decisions, rehearsal schedules that are difficult to keep (...), the partners met by the service providers without the usual internal contacts."
In particular, the letter denounces a management "exercised outside the legal framework by two service provider advisors" chosen by Pierre-Olivier Costa, a management deemed "sometimes toxic".
Staff representatives are also alarmed by a "lack of visibility" on the future of the MuCEM: no exhibition project has been validated beyond spring 2025, the letter explains, "while the right practice is to establish a three-year schedule". Contacted by AFP, the director of the MuCEM could not immediately be reached.