In a surprise announcement, Daniel Weiss, president and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said he will step down from his position in June 2023.
Weiss, who during his eight-year tenure leading the institution helped stabilize its finances and internal culture, announced his decision at a special board meeting held this morning, a museum spokesperson explained.
“Leading the Met has been an extraordinary honor,” the president and CEO said in a statement. “The museum is an intergenerational institution in service to the world, and I have felt that profoundly from my first day here.”
Weiss added that the Met had just completed the five-year strategic plan he put in place along with director Max Hollein, making next year “the right time for a leadership transition.”
“I have every confidence that the Museum is on a path to a strong future,” he said.
An art historian with a business degree, Weiss joined the Met as president in 2015, succeeding the institution’s first woman to hold the position, Emily K. Rafferty. He added CEO to his title in 2017, the same year that director Thomas Campbell resigned amid controversy.
Following Campbell’s departure, Weiss assumed the role of interim director, taking full control of a museum facing numerous issues, including a $40 million deficit, a much-derided rebranding effort, and a looming nine-figure construction project for a new Modern and contemporary art wing.
In 2018, Hollein was named director, taking over the Met’s programmatic duties while Weiss managed the finances and operations. Since then, the leadership duo has balanced the institution’s $300 million annual budget, raised over $1.5 billion in private support, resumed construction on the Met’s Modern wing, instituted a 13-point DEAI plan, and hired the Met’s first-ever chief diversity officer.
In a press release announcing Weiss’s resignation, the Met alluded to other institutional accomplishments under the outgoing president, such as its handling of the pandemic, response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, and removal of the Sackler name from its galleries.
“Dan has led the Museum through unprecedented times,” Hollein wrote in a statement. “He has been an extraordinary partner, whose wisdom and judgment have set an example for us all.”
Met representatives did not respond to Artnet News’s questions about whether or not the museum will search for candidates to replace Weiss, maintaining the institution’s dual leadership structure, or simply turn over the president’s responsibilities to Hollein.
Hamilton E. James, co-chairman of the Met board, told the New York Times: “We’re about to start on that—thinking about the right leadership structure, should there be a president and if so what is the definition of that role.”
“Dan Weiss has transformed the Met,” James and fellow board co-chair Candace Beinecke said in a statement of their own. “His vision, commitment to mission, and ability to inspire the large and diverse team of Met colleagues are exemplary, and the results speak loudly for themselves.”
Prior to his time at the Met, Weiss served as president of Haverford College and, before that, Lafayette College (both in Pennsylvania). He turned 65 this month.
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