Timothy Raab, 69, director and chief executive officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, announced Friday that he will retire in early 2022 after 13 years at the helm of one of the nation’s most prestigious art museums.
In 2009, he joined the museum following the sudden death of his predecessor, Anne d’Hernoncourt, from whom he inherited a $500 million expansion and renovation project designed by Frank Gehry. Raab, who began his term during the global financial crisis, is ending his role during the global health crisis, which closed the museum for several months.
“It is a great honor to serve as the director of one of the finest art museums in this country,” Raab said in a statement. “It is also a privilege to work with a talented and dedicated staff and a group of trustees.”
But over the past 18 months, employees have questioned Raab’s leadership after several internal problems became public. Last year, there was a former manager accused of sexual misconduct and second physical abuse, key government officials to criticize the museum. (rub apologize to your staff for his mistakes in dealing with the repercussions.) Employee federated last augustCiting the chief executive’s struggle to address gender and equality issues.
Responding to questions through a spokesperson, Raab said, “If I were to turn back the clock, I would also soon recognize that we need to focus on the same time – and with equal vigor – of the museum. on internal culture.” “We’re doing that work now, and the museum will be better for it.”
Rub said when he took the job, he expected to be around 10 years, “but with the timetable extended for both our construction project and our capital campaign, I felt it was important to stay on course.” And, the pandemic played a part. “We’ve even reached a point – about a year and a half after dealing with the challenges created by the pandemic – where we can see that things are really getting better.”
Other important leaders have left the museum in the past year. In September, Gail Harrity, longtime chairman and chief operating officer, resigned. The deputy director of collections and exhibitions, Alice Beemsdorfer, has also stepped down.
“We wish him well,” union president Adam Rizzo said in an interview on Friday. Other employees said that the Rab’s announcement took the staff by surprise.
Phase one of the museum’s costly overhaul recently ended, costing $233 million, as the institution grapples with the economic challenges of the pandemic, temporarily closing its galleries, slashing staff by 20 percent announced and estimated at $6.5 million. budget gap.
In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Leslie Anne Miller, chairman of the museum’s board of trustees, said the construction project has some outstanding debt. She also told the newspaper that Rab had faced problems in the institution.
“They’ve rolled up their sleeves and started tackling problems in a thorough, systematic and creative way,” Miller said. “While we haven’t addressed those problems in any way, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve made significant progress initially in addressing them.”
Last year, executives began implementing a number of measures to improve the working environment. Board and staff members had access to diversity training and an anonymous hotline to report misconduct. In August, Alfonso Atkins Jr. will debut as the museum’s first director of diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
Raab will officially move out of the museum on January 30, 2022, and the board is already starting to look for his replacement.
“This is another change for an institution that is rapidly changing,” said Christina Vassallo, director of the nearby Fabric Workshop and Museum, explaining that the Philadelphia Museum has developed a dialogue with neighboring cultural institutions in recent years. not done. “Whoever finds this role to fill will hopefully lead the museum into the 21st century.”