A revolt by wealthy arts patrons has led to Chris Saines keeping his job as director of the Auckland Art Gallery.
A plan to scale back Mr Saines' role and focus the gallery on making money was met with gasps of horror in a small but powerful group of arts patrons.
The Herald understands the Chartwell Trust, which holds an important collection of about 1300 contemporary works, threatened to withdraw its loan to the gallery if a shake-up of the gallery executive, including Mr Saines' role, went ahead.
"We started to think 'holy s***, what's going on'," one patron said.
"This is a gallery of international standing and suddenly we have a bureaucratic body trying to meddle in how it's managed."
He was referring to a plan by Robert Domm, the new chief executive of the council body Regional Facilities Auckland, which oversees the gallery and other regional facilities, to strip Mr Saines of his operational and financial roles and bring in a general manager to improve the gallery's commercial performance.
The plan was to make Mr Saines the cultural director and appoint a general manager reporting directly to regional facilities.
The jobs of three of Mr Saines' four-person executive team were also "disestablished" and they were invited to apply for jobs in the new structure.
Chartwell Trust co-director Sue Gardiner said the trust made its views known to the regional facilities board and senior management, and was assured that Mr Saines had kept his role as director in the new structure.
Mr Domm said he received feedback during a five-week consultation process and there was misunderstanding about the proposed changes.
Apart from some changed titles and reporting lines the result was consistent with the original proposal.
"We had a starting point in which we wanted to reform some parts of the gallery management and at the end of the day I have achieved that by consensus," Mr Domm said.
Mr Saines said it was agreed he would be reinstated as the gallery director with overall responsibility for artistic and operational functions.
A new position of deputy director focused on operational matters.
Members of the executive were given new roles.
"I'm pleased with the outcome," said Mr Saines, who has been gallery director since 1996.
Dame Jenny Gibbs, deputy chairwoman of of Regional Facilities Auckland, said Mr Saines was always going to be director but he needed someone to focus on the gallery's administrative and commercial aspects.