The board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has announced the appointment of Daniel H. Weiss as president and CEO, effective immediately, and a reorganization of the institution's leadership structure.
Weiss, who joined the Met as president and COO two years ago, has been serving as interim CEO following the February announcement that director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell would be stepping down from his position on June 30. Under its new leadership structure, the museum will appoint a director who reports to Weiss to lead its core mission-related functions, while Weiss will assume responsibility for the overall direction of the institution. The new director will be responsible for setting the artistic direction and curatorial priorities of the museum, including exhibitions, acquisitions, conservation, and scientific research, as well as its educational and public programming. In addition, Weiss and the new director will work "in partnership" to establish the museum's key institutional, capital, and infrastructure priorities, with both serving as ex-officio trustees.
"The board couldn't be more confident in Dan's ability to take the museum to even higher levels of excellence," said board chair Daniel Brodsky. "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."
The board's decision follows a comprehensive review and discussions of the museum's organizational structure, roles, and leadership titles. Since early 2016, the Met has worked to address a ballooning deficit by implementing a hiring freeze, offering voluntary buyouts, and making layoffs; slashing the number of special exhibits; and indefinitely postponing construction of a new wing. According to the New York Times, the change in the institution's leadership structure is "a sign that fiscal responsibility now trumps artistic control" at the museum. While the appointment of Weiss — a medieval scholar and former president of Haverford College who also has an MBA — to run the business side of things allows the Met to focus on hiring a director with curatorial chops, some insiders are concerned that the downgrading of the director's role will make it more difficult to fill the position with a top-notch candidate.
As the Met itself noted, the museum's leadership structure has shifted over the last four decades: when Philippe de Montebello became director in 1977, he reported to the president, but beginning in 1999, when de Montebello was appointed director and CEO, the president reported to him.
"It really takes two people to run this institution," Brodsky told the Times. "Someone who is afraid to report to someone else may not be the right person for us."