The deputy director of Auckland Museum resigned six months into the job because of a falling-out with his boss, Vanda Vitali.
Tim Walker was the director of the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt for 10 years, before joining Auckland Museum in August last year.
He left in January.
The experienced curator is now working as an arts consultant and was a speaker at a Creative New Zealand conference this week.
Mr Walker, who has also held senior roles at the National Art Gallery and Te Papa national museum, declined to comment about the reasons he left the Auckland Museum so quickly.
But the Weekend Herald has learned he resigned after disagreements with Dr Vitali over the future direction of the museum.
Dr Vitali is on annual leave and could not be reached for comment.
Museum spokesman Russell Briggs would not comment on Mr Walker's departure, saying it was an employment matter.
The swift disappearance of Mr Walker is the latest in a string of controversies involving Dr Vitali, who was appointed museum director in September 2007.
The Canadian, who came from a senior role at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, oversaw a restructuring last year that left 46 personnel, many of them long-serving and senior staff, without jobs. Of those, 24 left of their own volition or by mutual agreement and 22 were made redundant.
Anyone who has left the museum has signed a confidentiality agreement, effectively gagging them from speaking publicly.
Disgruntled Bomber Command veterans from World War II accused Dr Vitali of having little knowledge of Anzac tradition after they were refused space for a memorial inside the museum.
The stand-off was resolved.
In the latest incident, the children of Sir Edmund Hillary are taking court action to keep control of their father's writings, old diaries and thousands of family photographs bequeathed to the museum in his will.
Prime Minister John Key and his office have stepped in to mediate between the parties, as Peter Hillary said the relationship had broken down.
Despite these difficulties, Dr Vitali has strong backing from the Auckland Museum Trust Board.By Jared Savage @jaredsavageNZH Email Jared