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Mr. Rub’s announcement follows the approval of this appointment at the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art held on Thursday, October 15, 2009. In his remarks he noted: “Gail Harrity has played a vitally important role in the leadership of this institution for more than a decade and during the past year as Interim CEO she has guided it with a steady hand. The appointment has been made in recognition of her devoted and capable service to the Museum and with the expectation that she will continue to work closely with me in her new capacity to creatively fulfill the mission of the Museum and to ensure that it continues to serve the community as effectively as it has in the past.”
H. F. Gerry Lenfest, Chairman of the Museum’s Board, said: “We have completed a major transition at the Museum. With our new Director and Chief Executive Officer now on board, the Board has enthusiastically endorsed his recommendation to promote Gail to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer. The Museum is well positioned to meet the challenges that lie ahead and we look to the future with great enthusiasm.”
Since joining the Museum as Chief Operating Officer, Gail Harrity has overseen a broad range of functions, including finance, marketing and communications, external relations, facilities management, membership, and most recently, development. Working closely with the Director, Board of Trustees, and senior leadership team, she has also played a central role in strategic planning, the development of a new facilities master plan to enhance the display, study, conservation and storage of art, and the implementation of a number of new initiatives, including the development of a single database of the Museum’s collection and new website which provides broader public access to the collections.
“This appointment acknowledges how much we value Gail’s experience and the many contributions she has made to the Museum during her tenure,” Mr. Rub noted in making the announcement. “It also reflects my belief that continuity in leadership is vitally important at this point in the history of this institution. I look forward to working in partnership with her.”
Before coming to Philadelphia, Ms. Harrity held the position of Deputy Director at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where she was project director for the Museum in planning for the Frank O. Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. Before that she served as the Guggenheim Museum’s Deputy Director for Finance and Administration. From 1982 to 1989 Ms. Harrity worked in a variety of senior positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including Assistant Treasurer and Chief of Budget, Planning and Government Relations.
Ms. Harrity has been involved in active leadership of many cultural and business ventures, serving as a Board member of regional, national, and international organizations, including the Parkway Council Foundation, the American Association of Museums, and the International Council of Museums. She also serves on the Yale School of Management Board of Advisors. In 2002, Ms. Harrity was the recipient of an Eisenhower Fellowship, an international program promoting the exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives among emerging leaders throughout the world and was the first Eisenhower Fellow to go to China. She received her BA from Boston University (1973) and MBA in Public and Private Management at the Yale School of Management (1982).
Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, today announced the appointment of Gail Harrity as the Museum’s President and Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Ms. Harrity, the Museum’s Chief Operating Officer since 1997, also served as Interim Chief Executive Officer during the past 15 months while the Board of Trustees conducted a search for a successor to the late Anne d’Harnoncourt as Director of the Museum.