Thought Leader

Articles, whitepapers, videos and journals on these subjects:

Arts Management and Leadership


Princeton and Woodrow Wilson: The Debate Goes On

December 3, 2015

Professor James Abruzzo’s letter on New York Times (Read)

The Search for Museum Directors

November 28, 2015

The Search for Museum Directors The Museum of the City of New York named a new Director and according to Judith Dobrinski, the announcement, (and other recent director announcements), ‘was curious and left people wondering’, because the new Director had no directorial experience.  As an executive recruiter of some 30 plus years working in the CEO Succession Planning (Read)

The ATSC Conference in Montreal presentation covered topics such as “The Current and Future View of Leadership and Tenure”, “Emergency Succession Planning”, “The State of Succession Planning”, “The Board’s Role in Succession Planning”, and “Training a Successor” (Read)
Glenn Lowry|Excessive pay
A recent ArtNet news article about the “whopping” compensation of Glenn Lowry, MOMA’s Director, quoted me as saying “It’s a nonprofit but it’s also a business. The board is paying him because they think he’s worth it.” (Read)
Oh No, Another “Premature O”
What is better than attending a performance when actors or dancers or musicians are connecting with the audience? (Read)
Geffen Hall
David Geffen, a Brooklyn-born, self-made billionaire pledged $100 million to Lincoln Center Inc. for the renovation of Avery Fisher Hall. (Read)
Who is to Protect the Artists?
The WSJ commentary raises an important issue about art, politics and the nature of censorship in the arts. (Read)
Culturally Impoverished: US NEA Spends 1/40th of What Germany Doles Out for Arts Per Capita
10 countries that leave the US in the dust on funding the arts. (Read)
New Paris Concert Hall Debacle
The controversy over the newly opened Jean Nouvel Philharmonie de Paris is reminiscent of another controversial cultural building project meant to significantly affect a historic district of that great city. (Read)
Creating the Company Culture, Arts Management Newsletter
Corporate culture (Unternehdmenskultur) is a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop. Research demonstrates that ethical companies, with a culture and mission aligned with its values are, in the long run, the most successful. The same holds true for arts organizations (Kulturorganisationen): a healthy culture aligned with ethical values is what distinguishes the great arts institutions. (Read)
The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships, Association of Art Museum Directors
James Abruzzo participated in research that examines the current and historical factors of the gender gap in art museum directorships. The findings introduce potential resources and considerations from other industries, and finally suggest some areas for further research. (Read)
Selecting the Ideal Museum Director
Selecting the ideal director is the most important responsibility of the museum board. The best directors strengthen the institution, motivate the staff, energize the collections, encourage the board and change the community. The wrong choice is usually evident shortly after the director begins but ends after a year or two of angst, board disaffection, staff defection and loss of attendance and funding. (Read)
Science Centre World Congress

James Abruzzo provides panel remarks for the 6th Science Centre World Congress.

The Future of the Nonprofit Sector in China
James spoke at a luncheon of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong about the future of the nonprofit sector in Hong Kong and Mainland China, comparing it with that of the United States and Europe. In the speech, he drew parallels between the leadership challenges that occurred in the nonprofit sectors in the United States and Europe and offered predictions about what is likely to occur in Hong Kong and China. He also offered some immediate steps that may address the inevitable growth of the sector in Hong Kong and China. The content of the talk is based on interviews with many nonprofit executives in Hong Kong over a period of eighteen months, a review of various research reports and government documents and draws upon his thirty years’ experience as an executive search consultant and commentator in the field. This essay is adapted from that speech.
Arts Leaders and Arts Managers, Arts Management Newsletter
“Arts managers and arts leaders are two different animals… and arts institutions need both to excel. However, the unmet demand for arts leaders is greater today than at any other time. There are many reasons why the demand for leaders is growing and, unless some fundamental changes are made to encourage and develop the next generation, the gap will continue to increase and have a calamitous effect on the creativity and sustainability of arts institutions.” (Read)
The Leadership Crisis in Arts Management
There is a growing leadership crisis in arts management in the United States that will have a serious effect on the art produced and presented in the future. Simply put, there is a rapidly growing gap between the current supply and the growing demand for capable leaders in the cultural industry. (Read)
Guest presenter at NJ Historic Preservation Conference
View Conference list of speakers here.
Succession Planning for NonProfit CEOs
The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) is a nonprofit trade association founded in 1970 that provides national advocacy, resources, services and networking opportunities to organizations dedicated to offering private support and services to people with disabilities. This industry of service providers to those with disabilities became solidified as its membership grew. Over the last 40 years, as the industry was influenced by and responded to the American with Disabilities Act, Workforce Investment Act, Rehabilitation Act and other social service reforms, namely in Medicaid and Medicare provisions, ANCOR served an increasingly important role. In April of 2008, in advance of a national conference of ANCOR members in New Orleans, DHR International and the CNPL conducted a survey of its CEOs. This paper highlights some of the key findings from that survey. (Read)
Jobs in Arts and Media Management, (Drama Book Specialists) with subsequent revised editions in 1990 and 1993 (ACA Books), 1985, 1990 & 1993
James Abruzzo’s Jobs in Arts Management remains the only book that describes all of the management positions in each of the arts genres and prepares students and professionals for careers in the management of the sector. James continues to be published widely; his articles on arts management, nonprofit compensation, governance and business structures, the role of the private and public sectors in the arts and related topics have appeared in International Arts Manager, ArtsManagement.Net, Curator Magazine and other industry publications. He also originated the Cultural Index, a survey of the measurement of the confidence of cultural leaders in New York, Chicago and Berlin, Germany published semi-annually in those cities. (Read)
The US Art Museum Management Leadership Gap, Arts Management Newsletter
Many of the most sought after museum director positions in the United States are unfilled, some for as long as a year. Over the last ten years, there has always been more than twenty different art museums without directors. And frequently, as was the case recently with the Milwaukee Museum of Art, its new director was recruited from a directorship at another art museum (the San Jose Museum of Art), leaving a vacancy there and the same number of openings. What are the causes of this phenomenon and what are the implications? (Read)
EU Consult Conference
James Abruzzo participated in The EU Consult Conference which was held in Rome from Friday, June 20th through Sunday, June 22nd, 2008. The leadership of the group should be congratulated for their wise choice of location – Rome was more exquisite than this correspondent has ever experienced – and the hospitality of Pasquale Pesce (conference host) and Dr. Franco Pavancello, President of John Cabot University, where the meetings convened, were outstanding. (Read)
Demand Mounts at Nonprofits For Executives to Fill Top Jobs
James Abruzzo, executive vice president and managing director in Newark, N.J., for recruiter DHR International Inc., says demand is so high for nonprofit presidents, vice presidents and fund-raisers that his firm won’t accept every assignment. Openings are “exceeding the supply of people,” he says. (Read)
New York cultural leaders are optimistic about the future of the industry
New York cultural leaders are optimistic about the future of the industry. According to the most recent DHR International cultural confidence survey, the index is now at 57, as compared to 30 when these were leaders polled in the spring (the index is measured on a scale of 1 to 100, with 50 as neutral and 100 as most optimistic). The majority of those surveyed believe that attendance, fund raising, their organizations overall performance and that of the industry will improve over the next six months. (Read)
Managing Museums in Critical Times
American art museums face challenges of a magnitude unsurpassed in recent history. They are overwhelmed by a confluence of contemporary internal and external events. Some are dramatically referring to the situation as the “Perfect Storm.” While this may be overstating the situation (and one hopes, not indicating a similar ending), it is a serious situation. (Read)
Managing The American Way: Culture and Entrepreneurship in the USA
Delivered by James Abruzzo at the Unternehmen Kultur & Medien; Berlin Germany. (Read)

Tropical Chic: Cities Grow Their Own Rain Forests

“St. Louis has the Gateway Arch. Seattle has the Space Needle. And if some people in Des Moines, Iowa, have their way, that city may some day boast that it has the world’s largest indoor rain forest….”
“For zoos, rain forests help make a pitch for conservation and bring in crowds when it’s cold outside. “Rain forests are an audience builder,” says James Abruzzo, managing director of nonprofit practice at A.T. Kearney & Co., the consulting group researching the Des Moines project; he estimates a rain forest in Des Moines could bring in 1.4 million visitors a year.” (Read)
“Inviting James as a speaker for our conference about abilities and requirements for managers and future developments was definitely the right decision, since James is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in terms of the nonprofit sector. We received great feedback from the audience and are looking forward to seeing James again this year.” Sophie Winckler, Registrar / Exhibition Manager at Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, Germany, hired James as a conference speaker in 2008

Ethics and CSR


Kate Murray received campaign contributions from 3 NCC trustees who backed her for counsel’s job

Three Nassau Community College trustees who voted for former Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray as the school’s $151,000 a year interim general counsel had donated a total of nearly $10,000 to her previous political campaigns, state campaign finance records show. Trustees Anthony Cornachio, Edward Powers and John DeGrace donated […](Read)

The Corporate Response to the New Indiana Law

“Whether blameworthy or not, the use of the cloak of social responsibility, and the nonsense spoken in its name by influential and presti­gious businessmen, does clearly harm the foun­dations of a free society…” (Read)

Financial Trustworthiness and Transparency
Financial companies rely on the their trustworthiness and transparency – if their ratings can’t be trusted, whose can? (Read)
Too Big To Fail?
There are similarities between the financial institutions that are too big to fail and the Red Cross. (Read)
Artists often take the money and run – but we must say no to oil companies
UK blogger and arts critic claims that arts organizations must do their part to prevent global warming by not accepting oil company sponsorships. (Read)
The Value of Values
In the November 12, 2014 edition of the International New York Times, the columnist David Brooks reviewed the economic progress made by Soviet bloc countries since the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago. (Read)
James Abruzzo spoke with Chris DeBello regarding the Sussex County Community College ethics probe.
James shared his analysis of ethics questions regarding the Sussex County NJ Community College Board of Trustees. Listen to the radio interview here.
James Abruzzo quoted in New Hope Free Press article, New Hope Borough Council President Risks Appearance Of Conflict Of Interest By Not Recusing Herself From Review Of Project Next Door.
Read article here.
Opinion: Business can show Congress the way to social responsibility
Days ago, when President Obama announced stronger carbon rules under the Clean Air act, enforced by the EPA, he was confronted by Republican members of Congress clamoring that he was “overstepping” on business. (Read)
Faculty Insight: James Abruzzo’s opinion piece argues that Congress is behind the times on business policy.
Referenced from Read James’ opinion piece here.
LG clashes with environmentalists over New Jersey headquarters, Co-DirectorJames Abruzzo, Institute for Ethical Leadership: “I guess this is a tie”
Across the Hudson River from New York City and atop the steep cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades, LG Electronics Inc. has drawn the ire of environmentalists, and a Rockefeller, over its new North America headquarters. (Read)
Social responsibility is smart business, Opinion: NJ Star Ledger
The Institute of Museum Ethics (Seton Hall University) in partnership with the Institute for Ethical Leadership (Rutgers University-Newark) held a conference on Museums, Ethics, and the Press

James Abruzzo was one of the key participants:

IME AM Session
IME PM Session

Friend of the Barnes

Evelyn Yaari responds via email to a post about the difference it would make if the Delaware River Port Authority rescinded its $500,000 in funding for the Barnes’ move to Philadelphia. The Art Law Blog, May 26, 2009, Donn Zaretsky. “The only study we have seen is The Abruzzo Case Analysis, by Professor James Abruzzo, which calls the Philadelphia Barnes plan ‘highly risky.’ That was in 2004 – before the current climate of extreme uncertainty.”

James served as an expert witness for the Friends that wanted to keep the Barnes Museum from relocating. See his testimony. (Read) View PDF Directly

Teaching Leadership for Public Service: Dr. Joe Cerami chaired a roundtable discussion on at John Jay College of the City University of New York, for the Second Annual Northeast Conference on Public Administration (NECoPA 2011). The roundtable included James Abruzzo, the co-founder of the Institute for Ethical Leadership at the Rutgers Business School (RBS), and Jeanne Marie Col of John Jay College and formerly the United Nations Senior Interregional Adviser in Governance and Public Administration. The Conference theme was on Building Trust and Confidence in the Public Service.

Nonprofit Compensation


Museum of Modern Art Reveals Glenn Lowry’s Whopping $2.1 Million Pay Amid Staff Protest Over Benefit Cuts
In one of the richest payouts for a U.S. museum executive, Museum of Modern Art Director Glenn Lowry earned $2.1 million in salary, bonus, and benefits in 2013. (Read)
More Transparency, More Pay for C.E.O.s, The New York Times.
James comments on the article: “The transparency rules for nonprofit organizations had much the same effect – nonprofit executive compensation has risen. However, in my experience boards and/or CEOs of nonprofit organizations that hire compensation consultants can learn adopt strategic compensation packages by…” Read James’ full comment here.
Tri-State Area: If You Can Make It Here, You Can Make Out Pretty Well, Healthcare Compensation News
James is quoted on the relationship between compensation and executive market worth.  (Read)
Negotiating the CEO Nonprofit Contract
The nonprofit board’s most important decision is hiring or extending the contract of the CEO. And for the prospective or sitting CEO, there is no more important decision than either accepting the position or extending its term. (Read)
Houston Methodist Hospital’s $18 million compensation question mark,
James comments on nonprofit best practices within IRS guidelines.  (Read)
Komen Source: Pro-Life VP Karen Handel Gung-Ho About Defunding Planned Parenthood, Gothamist
James discusses executive salary suspicions at the Susan G. Komen Foundation. (Read)
Charities fail the test on pay for top women,
James discusses gender roles in nonprofit pay grades.  (Read)
Mozart in the Jungle, The New York Times
James discusses orchestras and business.  (Read)
New Rules Lift the Lid on Nonprofit Pay, The New York Times
James comments in the article: “The biggest divider these days that separates the corporate world from the nonprofits is stock options..” “The nonprofits just can’t compete with the dot-coms. As a result, there will be a whole generation of young business school people, who in the past were very motivated to do something meaningful, who have been lured away by the potential of big payouts and who then may retire in their 30’s and can turn to doing nonprofit work.” (Read)

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