Art museum officials still searching for director
By Suzy Valentine
Miami Art Museum officials may have to make an interim appointment for the new year as it continues its hunt for a successor to its outgoing director.
A 13-member search committee is to meet in the next two weeks to review a short list of hopefuls prepared by Chicago executive-search company Heidrick & Struggles, but that leaves the museum and candidates little time before incumbent Suzanne Delehanty leaves Dec. 31.
Nathaniel Sutton and Victoria Reese in the New York office of Heidrick & Struggles have been assisting in the hunt for a replacement since summer.
"We won't have a whole lot of time," said museum board Chairman Aaron Podhurst. "If we do get someone, they may need to give their present employer 30, 60 or so days' notice."
That could force the downtown Miami museum to find a stopgap.
"If I had to bet on it, I'd say we won't have a director by the end of the year," Mr. Podhurst said. "We'll probably have someone at the museum act as an interim director."
A temporary appointment, he said, would be unlikely to lead to the permanent role.
"I don't think so," said Mr. Podhurst. "We want the best-qualified person for the job. That's why we're recruiting across the country for someone with the right background."
How long an interim director would serve is undetermined.
"I can't put a time on it," Mr. Podhurst said. "We're having a meeting in the first two weeks of December to determine who we'd like to interview. We're in the middle of the search drive. We're interviewing."
The museum hasn't set a salary for the post, but museum directors' salaries across the US generally range from $200,000 to $400,000, according to the Wall Street Journal. Heidrick & Struggles' fee will be one-third of the successful candidate's salary in the first year.
Ms. Reese has helped find staffers for the Museum of the City of New York and the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution.
Ms. Delehanty's replacement may have to oversee the museum's move from 101 W. Flagler St. to Bicentennial Park, which could be rebranded Museum Park.
The city has retained Cooper Robertson & Associates to assess the park's suitability as a site for the art museum, the Miami Science Museum & Planetarium and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, which will retain its downtown facility. The consultancy is to release the findings of its $1.4 million commission by the end of this year.