(New York, July 29, 2014)—Emily Kernan Rafferty, President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art since 2005, announced today her decision to retire in the spring of 2015, after more than 10 years in that position. Ms. Rafferty came to the Museum in 1976 as an administrator in the Development department, where she rose through the ranks, serving as Vice President for Development and Membership (the first woman to be appointed a Vice President in the Museum’s history), and later as Senior Vice President for External Affairs.
"It has been a singular privilege to work for the Metropolitan Museum,” Ms. Rafferty said. “2015 will mark my 39th year at the Met and the 11th year of my tenure as President. Now that the Museum is ready to embark upon a series of new initiatives and a related long-term capital campaign, I believe it should have administrative leadership from someone who is prepared to assume those responsibilities for many years to come and carry them to fruition. I am honored to have helped lead and achieve a smooth transition from the Directorship of Philippe de Montebello to Tom Campbell six years ago, and under Tom’s leadership helped to effect significant positive changes within the Met. My respect and affection for the institution and for my colleagues is profound, and the Met will always be close to my heart.”
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan, praised Ms. Rafferty for her exceptional contributions. “The Met is known for the extraordinary dedication of its staff, but few people have had a greater impact on this Museum than she has. Over nearly 40 years, Emily has grown with the Met, rising to its challenges through the decades. Indeed, I am deeply indebted to her for the role she played in my own transition to Director. We have worked together as partners over the past five years, and I remain grateful for the intelligence, generosity, and charisma she brings to every endeavor.”
He added: “Emily’s legacy is not just one of professional achievement; her warmth, charm, and good humor have seeded deep and abiding friendships throughout this Museum. She has shared our triumphs and our tragedies (and weathered the occasional blackout), helping to build that singular spirit of strength and devotion that we treasure about the Met.”
Daniel J. Brodsky, Chairman of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, said: “Emily’s contribution has been tremendous, and in many ways unique. Her remarkable combination of skills, and the role she has played in the Met’s culture over nearly 40 years, cannot be replicated. Tom Campbell and I, the Trustees, and staff, are grateful for Emily’s devoted service to the Museum and very pleased that she will be with us through the initial transition period.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive art museum. As the Museum’s chief administrative officer, Ms. Rafferty oversees some 1,500 full and part-time employees in the areas of finance, legal affairs, development, membership, visitor services, technology, communications and marketing, construction and facilities management, merchandising, human resources, security, and government relations at the federal, state, and city levels. She also serves as an ex officio member of the Museum’s Board.
Ms. Rafferty has also served since 2008 as Chairwoman of NYC & Company, the City’s official tourism and marketing agency. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. In 2011, she was named to the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and became Chairman in 2012.
Born and reared in New York City, Ms. Rafferty earned her B.A. degree cum laude from Boston University.
The recipient of many awards and honors, Ms. Rafferty received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Pace University in 2014. Other honorary degrees have been awarded by Fairfield University, Doctor of Laws in 2010, and The College of New Rochelle, Doctor of Humane Letters in 2008. In 2012 she received the New York University Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City. From 2009 through 2013 she has been named one of New York City’s 100 most influential women by Crain’s New York Business, and was the 2007 honoree of the Art Table, a group of leading women in cultural affairs.
Among her many voluntary activities, she is a lifetime honorary trustee of the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in New York, having served on the board for 15 years beginning in 1985, and as its chairman from 1993 through 1997. She was also president of the Blue Hill Troupe, Gilbert and Sullivan Repertory Theater from 1998 to 1999, a group with which she has been affiliated since 1977. She has served for more than 10 years as Board Vice President of the Independent School Chairmen Association.
Mr. Brodsky said that, working closely with Tom Campbell, he will name and chair a committee of the Board of Trustees to recommend a succession plan that will lay the groundwork for the search for Ms. Rafferty’s successor.