A former chief executive and archivist of mac has died aged 70.

Geoff Sims led the arts centre in Edgbaston from 1989 to 1998 and continued his association afterwards as project co-ordinator of the mac/sampad building project, something he conceived in 1992, and honorary archivist until last year.

Brought up in Essex, Mr Sims attended the University of Keele where he studied mathematics and logic after which he began his working career as a croupier.

His love of the arts led him to the New Victoria Theatre, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, where he worked under founding director Peter Cheeseman.

From The Victoria, Mr Sims moved in the early 1970s to become deputy director of the young West Midlands Arts (WMA), then based in Stafford and forging its relationships with Arts Council Great Britain and local authorities.

He provided leadership to a range of young, emerging arts professionals while nationally was a significant player in the Standing Conference of Arts Associations (SCRAA), later Council of Regional Arts Associations, and was an untiring advocate of Community Arts with Government and the Arts Council.

He oversaw the move of WMA to Birmingham to the home given to it by the West Midlands County Council on its demise on 1986.

Mr Sims left WMA in 1989 to take up the role of director of Midlands Arts Centre and in 1990 changed its name to mac as part of a review of its mission, focus and priorities.

Dorothy Wilson, artistic director and chief executive of mac, said: "With his facility with numbers and concepts, he was in demand for a wide range of projects, with many of whom he remained closely associated but none more so than with mac.

"A fine photographer himself, Geoff was also a collector of art and a quiet and unassuming patron of artistic endeavour.

"As a trustee of the mac New Work Trust, he was always keen to support the emerging artist and ensemble and could see how even very small investments at the right time gave the most enormous boost to confidence and ambition.

"Geoff was one of the kindest, most supportive, challenging and principled people. A man of conviction, imagination and huge generosity, Geoff played a major role in synthesising and realising mac's ambitions and respecting and celebrating its past."

Geoff Sims - July 13, 1944 - December 16, 2014. He is survived by his sister Lesley Horner and partner Kevin Morgan.

** Mr Sims' family has asked that any donations people may wish to make can be directed to mac which will be then used to set up the 'Geoff Sims photographic bursary award' to support regional photographers preparing work for exhibition there.