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Met Museum Director Thomas Campbell Steps Down Amid Financial Woes

By Shaye Weaver | March 1, 2017 8:37am
 The Metropolitan Museum of Art's director and CEO, Thomas P. Campbell, will step down on June 30, museum officials said.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's director and CEO, Thomas P. Campbell, will step down on June 30, museum officials said.
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Melanie Einzig

UPPER EAST SIDE — The director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is stepping down amid criticism of the way he's handled the institution's finances.

Thomas P. Campbell will resign as of June 30 and the Met's president, Daniel H. Weiss, would serve as interim CEO, museum officials said in a news release Tuesday.

The release did not explain why Campbell is stepping down, but he has been blamed by employees for making a number of poor decisions that may have contributed to the museum's financial hardship, including opening the Met Breuer at the former site of the Whitney museum as well as the rebranding of the Met itself.

The decisions have lead to a reduction in the number of exhibits and in the number of employees over the past year and into the next several years, according to a New York Times report.

Despite those allegations, Daniel Brodsky, the museum's chairman of the board of directors, said he and the board are "incredibly proud of the accomplishments of the Museum during Tom's tenure."

He listed record audience growth, the installation of several suites of new galleries, as well as emerging as "a worldwide digital leader; building a curatorial team without parallel; continuing a robust exhibitions and acquisitions program; and, of course, the expansion of The Met's commitment to its Modern and Contemporary program, most notably in The Met Breuer," he said in a statement. "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."

Campbell was appointed in 1996 as an assistant curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and supervising curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. In 2008, he was appointed to the board of directors and helped grow the museum's attendance by 40 percent, according to museum officials. 

He took over as director and CEO in 2009.

"I began at The Met 22 years ago as a curator and have been here almost my entire career," he said in a statement. "It was not an easy choice to step away, especially at such a vital and exciting moment. That said, its current vitality is what makes this the right moment to do so. I have worked hard, and I believe my efforts have paid off."

He added that Weiss is "level headed" and has the experience to "continue [the museum's] positive trajectory."

"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," he said. "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."