In the wake of upheaval after two departures from its uppermost post in less than two years, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts—the 16-acre complex that plays home to the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, and other cultural enterprises—named Henry Timms as its next president and CEO. To assume his new role in May, Timms will leave the same post at 92nd Street Y, the nonprofit cultural and community center he has led in New York since 2014.
In 2016, Jed Bernstein left as Lincoln Center’s president after a little more than two years, for reasons owing to a relationship with a staff member. Last year, Debora L. Spar departed after only one year, citing what she called an uncomfortable fit after leaving academia (she had been president of Barnard College in New York) to take over a cultural behemoth in the midst of turmoil.
Timms enters at a delicate time for the institution, which in the past couple years has announced a dramatic downscaling of renovation plans for its philharmonic hall and financial challenges across all fronts. In a statement, Lincoln Center board chair Katherine Farley said, “Henry’s signature style is collaboration, complemented by innovation, ingenuity and enthusiasm, which will serve him well as he works closely with all of our constituent arts organizations.”
In the same statement, Timms said, “The vision and commitment of Lincoln Center’s board, and the talent of the leaders and organizations on campus, are unparalleled. The privilege of collaborating with these remarkable individuals and of leading this unique institution is an extraordinary honor.”
Prior to the 92nd Street Y, Timms worked as the international director of the Louise Blouin Foundation in London. He is also a co-author (with Jeremy Heimans) of the bestselling book New Power: How Power Works in the 21st Century—and How You Can Make It Work for You.