David Macmillan says: "During his time in post the Gallery has been through immense changes: A capital project has been initiated and completed - with the celebrated opening of the new extension in 2006 - and the Gallery has grown into what is now a Collection of national importance and a leader in innovative exhibitions and learning and community programmes. The Gallery has established itself as fiercely independent, a centre of excellence for Modern and Contemporary Art, where British Art meets the rest of the world."

In those years the Gallery has also been successful in establishing an endowment fund, which has the potential to grow in the next four years through the recently awarded Catalyst Fund grant.

Stefan van Raay says: ‘I decided to go at a moment when the Gallery is really thriving. We have wonderful critical acclaim, are genuinely loved by visitors and are firmly on the national and international map. A passion for art and creativity has driven the ethos of the Gallery. I am most grateful for the confidence in and support of me shown by the trustees who have so staunchly backed me and for the loyalty and dedication of my colleagues. I am confident that the Gallery will continue to thrive'.

The position at the Gallery will be advertised at the beginning of September 2012.