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  • 1.  Job Title: Executive Director or President/CEO?

    Posted 06-15-2021 10:26 AM
    Hello Colleagues,

    I'm working with a museum that is seeking its next leader, and they are considering whether to use the title Executive Director or President/CEO. The position has traditionally been that of E.D., and the role isn't changing drastically, but they are considering transitioning to President/CEO. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone with thoughts on the issue, and especially anyone from a museum that has changed  the leader's title or the role.

    Many thanks,

    Gail Nessell Colglazier, Principal

    Executive Searches for Museums

    Londonderry, NH

  • 2.  RE: Job Title: Executive Director or President/CEO?

    Posted 06-16-2021 07:58 AM
    It's more than a title change, it's a structural change to the organization.

    Naming a President/CEO may require a change to the organizations bylaws, as that pres/ceo position would have a board role that would need defining.  Does the board currently have a President? If so, more bylaw changes needed to adjust that position to "chair of the board." 

    Good to have legal review of the organizations bylaws every few years anyway. That's where a change like this can get the in-depth exploration and consideration it merits. 

    R. Kevin Osgood
    Executive Director
    Door County Maritime Museum - Sturgeon Bay
    Sturgeon Bay WI

  • 3.  RE: Job Title: Executive Director or President/CEO?

    Posted 06-16-2021 09:48 AM
    "Chief" in a title may have some colonial connotations.

    Melissa Felder
    Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer
    California Academy of Sciences

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  • 4.  RE: Job Title: Executive Director or President/CEO?

    Posted 06-16-2021 12:13 PM
      |   view attached
    When I was hired for the nonprofit that manages our museum (city owned), we changed the title from Exec. Dir to Executive Director/CEO.  Personally I prefer that.  The position as you say is relatively the same, however, CEO is helpful in the corporate environment and so I use the two titles together.

    hope this helps
    Delta Pick Mello
    Executive Director/CEO
    Sacramento History Alliance

    Delta Mello
    Executive Director/CEO
    Sacramento History Museum
    Sacramento CA

  • 5.  RE: Job Title: Executive Director or President/CEO?

    Posted 06-16-2021 02:32 PM

    I'll suggest a third option that is used at our institution:  Executive Director & CEO.  It combines the traditional staff leader title with one element from the "corporate" model.  Just another option to consider.

    John E. Coraor
    Interim Director
    Heckscher Museum of Art
    Huntington, NY

  • 6.  RE: Job Title: Executive Director or President/CEO?

    Posted 06-17-2021 11:46 AM
    Absolutely agree with the prior response that this is first dictated by what is in your By-laws.  Look as well at what the head of your Board is being called.  I was the Executive Director of the California African American Museum, which is a state government agency, and in that capacity I was titled according to the way the government system was set up, and our Board leadership was the Chair of the Board.  However I also was responsible for CAAM's nonprofit organization and in that capacity my title was Vice President of Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum.  The only reason it was VP was because the head of the Board held the title of President (no Chairman titles).  The set up had more to do with its early beginnings rather than the reality that as VP I was the sole executive responsible for the leadership of the Foundation.  It was definitely a situation that eventually should have been changed to the more traditional structure where the non-profit Board leader is the most orgs.

    Small aside, for what it is worth....I sit on a college board as a trustee and the trustee leader is the Chair and the head of the college is the President

     Hope this helps,

    Charmaine Jefferson
    Consultant/Service Provider
    The Museum Group
    Los Angeles CA