Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has appointed a new director — but Professor Stephen Hopper is believed to have not been its first choice. It is understood a selected candidate turned down the £85,000-plus role, wanting a higher salary. A Kew representative would not confirm or deny this. Hopper succeeds Professor Sir Peter Crane, who will move to a faculty appointment in the University of Chicago’s Department of Geophysical Sciences by August after seven years at Kew. Institute of Horticulture president David Miller said Hopper brings “a wealth of experience” to the role, having “already curated a premier plant collection in an area which has one of the world’s most diverse native flora”. Hopper is foundation professor of plant conservation biology at the University of Western Australia, former director of Kings Park & Botanic Garden in Perth and chief executive of the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority. He will take over at RBG Kew in October this year. He is the author of more than 200 publications, including eight books, and participated in Kew’s 2001 Science Audit. * RBG Kew launched the Sir John Pawson-designed Sackler Crossing last week. Its pagoda will reopen on 25 May with a visit by Chinese ambassador Zha Peixin. Kew Palace also reopened last month.
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