Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli will not be renewing the mandate of David Croff, the Minister declared at a Biennale Foundation summit meeting last night.

Croff has acted as President of the Venice's Biennale and worked alongside Cinema artistic director Marco Mueller for four years.

The President of the Biennale is in charge of all he sections of the Biennale foundation - art, architecture, dance, music, theatre and cinema.

The declaration to turn the page comes somewhat as a surprise as most expected Venice to aim to reinforce the stability of their institution. Some have seen the 75-year old event - particularly where cinema is concerned - as threatened by the new Rome Film Fest, which opens its second edition today.

Rutelli thanked Croff, and evaluated his work as 'positive' particularly in his 'capacity to support budgetary cuts and begin the path to auto financing.'

Croff is responsible for doubling private sponsorship in the past four years. And, along side Marco Mueller, he can be credited with advancing the new Palazzo del Cinema project to its official signing by the Italian government in September.

Rutelli said, 'He has done a good job,' but cited 'bad feelings between local institutions that would make a continued relationship impossible.'

This is likely in reference to local politicians like Veneto regional president Giancarlo Galan and Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari who have often had turbulent relations with the Biennale.

Galan's parting comments reflected that they were not sorry to see him go.

'After the Minister's comments, Croff can consider his mandate concluded,' ANSA, Italian new agency reported Galan as saying.

Rutelli confirmed that the new president would be named by mid-November.

If the re-nomination date is respected, the new president would form a board of directors that would then name Venice's new artistic director - or have the power renew Marco Mueller's mandate.

Mueller's mandate runs out at the end of this year.

A Mueller-renewal, while not carved in stone, has received favourable comments from local politicians and the Biennale board of directors in the weeks after the last edition of the Venice Film Festival wrapped.

As for the new President, Rutelli himself has not cited anyone for the job, but names circulating include Giorgio Ferrara (Director of the Institute of Italian Culture in Paris); Davide Rampello (chief of the Triennale of Milan, which is dedicated to applied Arts like design, sculpture and architecture); as well as ex president of the Biennale Paolo Baratta.