Met Hires Firm to Find New Director

Now that Philippe de Montebello has announced his departure, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has hired a New York-based executive-recruiting firm to look for a new director. Mr. Montebello plans to retire by the end of the year after leading the museum for more than three decades. The firm, Phillips Oppenheim, specializes in executive searches for the not-for-profit sector with expertise in the museum field (they have helped the Whitney and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago fill executive chairs before). They will help organize a global search and coordinate with the museum’s search committee, which is chaired by Annette de la Renta, the Met announced yesterday in a press release. According to the Wall Street Journal, the headhunting task comes as some museum directors across the country are grappling with increasing budgets, decreasing federal and corporate funding, and several years of flat attendance. At least 20 U.S. museums are currently searching for new directors, according to the Association of Art Museum Directors, a New York-based nonprofit representing more than 180 museum directors.

Full press release after the jump.

Metropolitan Museum Names Firm to Aid in
Trustee Search for Next Director

(NEW YORK, February 4, 2008)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art today
announced that it has retained the New York-based executive search firm Phillips
Oppenheim to help organize and staff the international search for the institution’s
next Director. The firm will work closely with the Museum’s Trustees’ recently
designated Search Committee, which is chaired by Annette de la Renta, with S.
Parker Gilbert serving as vice-chairman.

Philippe de Montebello, who has served as Director of the Metropolitan since
1977, announced his retirement on January 9, effective December 30, 2008, or
when his successor is named.

Phillips Oppenheim, which specializes in executive searches for the not-for-profit
sector with a special expertise and record of accomplishment in the museum field,
has identified principals Laurie Nash and Sarah James to staff the search. Inquiries
should be directed to Ms. Nash or Ms. James at 212-953-1770, or at

“We are delighted to commence work with Phillips Oppenheim on this vital
effort,” commented James R. Houghton, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, who
serves as an ex-officio member of the Trustees Search Committee. “Nothing the
Trustees will do in the coming year is as crucial to the institution’s future as this
search, and with the support of this accomplished firm, we feel that we have taken
a major step toward fulfilling our mission. My fellow Trustees and I know that
Phillips Oppenheim will provide important support as we commence our global
search for Philippe de Montebello’s successor. The committee members look
forward to working with Laurie Nash and Sarah James in the months ahead.”

Joining Mrs. de la Renta, Mr. Gilbert, and Mr. Houghton on the Trustees’ Search
Committee are: Daniel Brodsky, Russell Carson, Robert Joffe, Susana Torruella
Leval, Cynthia Hazen Polsky, Frank Richardson, James Shipp, Lulu Wang, and
Shelby White.

Met Hires Firm to Find New Director