Amid Scandal and Cutbacks, the Met Names Daniel Weiss President and CEO

The new director will report to Weiss, rather than the other way around.

Metropolitan Museum of Art CEO Daniel H. Weiss. © the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017. Courtesy of the Met.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, an institution seeking stability at a time of financial cutbacks and a scandal involving its current director, has promoted interim director Daniel H. Weiss to the position of president and chief executive officer. The museum continues to search for a new director to replace Thomas Campbell, who announced his resignation in February and will leave at the end of June.

The new director will report to Weiss, which reverses the reporting structure that has been in place since before Campbell ascended to the directorship after 14 years in the department of European sculpture and decorative arts. He specialized in tapestries, a focus that earned him the moniker “tapestry Tom.” Campbell resigned following a round of layoffs and amid growing scrutiny of the museum’s mounting deficit. After his announcement, the New York Times reported complaints that he had engaged in an “inappropriate relationship” with a female staffer.

The museum has had different leadership structures over its 40-year history, the institution points out in a press release. Its previous director, Philippe de Montebello, originally reported to the president, but in 1999 ascended to the dual role of director and CEO, with the president reporting to him.

“The board couldn’t be more confident in Dan’s ability to take the Museum to even higher levels of excellence,” said Daniel Brodsky, chairman of the board of trustees. “He is a scholar of art history, he is a seasoned leader of complex institutions, and he is committed to the museum’s mission. His contributions as president of the Met during the past two years have been exemplary, both in supporting the museum’s vision and in establishing a sustainable path for our financial and managerial operations.”

Weiss assumes the position having served two years as president. In March, Weiss told the Wall Street Journal that he could close the current $15 million gap in the museum’s $398 million budget in the next two or three years. To achieve that end, he plans to postpone some exhibitions and push for higher retail income at the museum’s shops and eateries.

Weiss holds a doctorate in art history from Johns Hopkins University and, before coming to the Met, served as president of Haverford College for two years. While most museum directors do not have experience managing an endowment anywhere near the size of the Met’s ($2.5 billion), Weiss handled Haverford’s smaller, but still significant, endowment, which stands at nearly $500 million.

After earning his PhD, Weiss taught art history at Johns Hopkins, becoming the chair of the department and ultimately the dean of the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. In 2005, he moved to Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he was president and professor of art history.

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