President of Museum of Latin American Art resigns unexpectedly after less than two years

Giving little notice and surprising its board co-chairs, Richard P. Townsend has stepped down as president of the Museum of Latin American Art after less than two years in its top spot, the museum announced Tuesday.

It's the third change at the top for the Long Beach museum in little more than 3 1/2 years since completing a $15-million expansion and renovation in 2007. "It caught us a little bit by surprise" when Townsend said he was resigning about a week and a half ago, said co-chair Mike Deovlet. "It isn't anything we'd had discussions about."

"He met with us and said he wanted to pursue other opportunities," said Burke Gumbiner, the other co-chair. "It was voluntary. We thanked him for his contribution. We like the artistic program and are going to continue the artistic program."

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