Case #1625.0

"A Multiplicity of Roles": The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art Search for a Director

Publication Date: October 30, 2001
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Two years after cutting the ribbon on a dramatic new building, the trustees of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art face a crucial decision: whom to hire as the museum's new executive director. It's a decision that arises in the context of deep challenges for the 30-year-old institution. It has run budget deficits and has lost key a number of key exhibit curators. When candidates from the upper ranks of other contemporary art museums either fail to impress or take themselves out of the running, the board finds itself considering a decidedly unconventional candidate--one with apparent energy, imagination, and with wide-ranging experience in academic administration and even the EuroDisney theme park, but no experience in museum administration itself.

Learning Objective:
The case uses the vehicle of the decision about the new executive director to raises core issues about institutional strategy and the role of a nonprofit board of directors. A Sequel reveals the board's decision and its early returns. The case was developed with the support of the Museum Trustee Association.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Howard Husock
Faculty Lead:
Christine Letts
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States