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Thomas Campbell Out as Director of the Metropolitan Museum Amid Institution’s Financial Struggles

Thomas P. Campbell.COURTESY MET MUSEUM

Thomas P. Campbell.
COURTESY MET MUSEUM

Thomas P. Campbell resigned as director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the institution announced this afternoon. He will leave his position June 30, 2017.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the Met’s accomplishments during my tenure as director and CEO,” Campbell said in a statement. “In close collaboration with the board, curators, and the entire organization, the museum has evolved into a beacon of scholarship and understanding, not only for visitors to our New York sites, but globally through digital platforms, leadership exchanges, and more. At a moment when art and culture have an especially profound role to play in fostering mutual understanding, I am especially proud that our visitor base is the largest and most diverse in the museum’s history. At the same time, we are on track to be financially stable and have a solid strategic path forward.”

Though unexpected, the departure seems to have been orchestrated as an ouster. Recently, the leadership of the world-class institution—the largest in the United States—has faced widespread criticism regarding its handling of the Met’s ongoing financial difficulties. Its budget deficit approached $40 million last year, according to a report in the New York Times. A planned $600 million wing intended to open in tandem with the institution’s 150th anniversary in 2020 has been indefinitely postponed, rollout of digital platforms has been botched, and a series of layoffs have roiled staff morale.

Daniel Brodsky, the Met’s board chair, will oversee a transition plan, and has announced that the Met’s president, Daniel Weiss, will serve as CEO in the interim.

“Tom has led the Met in precisely the right direction during his tenure, and we look forward to continuing to make progress in the areas he and his team have led in the years ahead,” Brodsky said in a statement.

Campbell joined the institution in 1996, and was working as a curator with a focus on tapestry when he was tapped as director and CEO in September 2008. He succeeded Phillippe de Montebello, who served as the director of the Met for 31 years before retiring at the end of 2008. When he leaves his position in June, Campbell will have served as the Met’s director for just over eight years.

At the moment, there is no indication as to what Campbell will do after stepping down. In a statement, he said, vaguely, “For the next stage of my career I look forward to new challenges beyond the Met, always in service of art, scholarship, and understanding.”

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