Met President Emily Rafferty Retiring

Former Metropolitan Museum of Art president Emily Rafferty. Courtesy of Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

Emily Kernan Rafferty, who has been the president of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for the past decade, will retire in the spring of 2015. Though she’s held her current position for 10 years, Rafferty has been at the Met since 1976, when she joined the institution’s development department as an administrator. She quickly rose to the position of vice president for development and membership, becoming the first woman to hold a vice president position at the Met. She eventually became vice president for external affairs before her eventual ascendance to the museum’s presidency. She was the Met’s first female president, taking office in January 2005 following the retirement of David E. McKinney.

“It has been a singular privilege to work for the Metropolitan Museum,” Rafferty said in a statement on July 29. “2015 will mark my 39th year at the Met and the 11th year of my tenure as President. Now that the Museum is ready to embark upon a series of new initiatives and a related long-term capital campaign, I believe it should have administrative leadership from someone who is prepared to assume those responsibilities for many years to come and carry them to fruition. I am honored to have helped lead and achieve a smooth transition from the Directorship of Philippe de Montebello to Tom Campbell six years ago, and under Tom’s leadership helped to effect significant positive changes within the Met. My respect and affection for the institution and for my colleagues is profound, and the Met will always be close to my heart.”

Met director and CEO Thomas Campbell will work with museum chairman Daniel J. Brodsky to form a committee of trustees to develop a transition plan for Rafferty’s departure and the hunt for a new museum president.

“Emily’s legacy is not just one of professional achievement; her warmth, charm, and good humor have seeded deep and abiding friendships throughout this Museum,” Campbell said in a statement. “She has shared our triumphs and our tragedies (and weathered the occasional blackout), helping to build that singular spirit of strength and devotion that we treasure about the Met.”

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