EXCLUSIVE: Mike Leigh praises London Film School director Ben Gibson for “outstanding” service.

London Film School director Ben Gibson has stepped down from the post he held for 14 years.

The LFS board is now looking to appoint a new director who will likely assume the role from next autumn.

Gibson will remain active at the school until the transition to the new director.

Gibson has been instrumental in raising the profile of the LFS in the UK and abroad and has also overseen the school’s long-gestating transition from Covent Garden to the Barbican.

In December 2013, the school announced its first major funding towards the transfer, with a move planned for 2016, the same year the school celebrates its 60th birthday.

Gibson told ScreenDaily: “It has been an engrossing pleasure to lead this dynamic and important institution since 2000. LFS is a wonderful place to work and learn, and the privilege of teaching and supporting talented, collaborative and clear-eyed people from all over the world counts as one of the important experiences of my life”.

“I’ve never held any job for this long,” he continued. “I want to pursue some other interests after 14 years, and 2014 feels like an ‘eclipse’ moment where I can move on. The school has big plans in the works, but it’s a good time to have fresh eyes and ideas applied to them, and we’ll manage a smooth handover over this year.”

Director Mike Leigh, chair of governors, added: “Ben Gibson has led LFS from strength to strength over his fourteen years of outstanding service, and we will be sad to see him go. With our move to the Barbican, we are entering a radical phase in the school’s history, and the scope for a dynamic new director to take us on this journey is very exciting indeed”.

In 2013, LFS films clocked a record 232 festival entries across 179 events, winning 43 prizes, nominations or special mentions.

Prior to working at the LFS Gibson was head of production at the BFI between 1989-99. His credits as a producer and executive producer include Terence Davies’ The Long Day Closes, Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein, John Maybury’s Love is the Devil, Carine Adler’s Under the Skin and Jasmin Dizdar’s Beautiful People.