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CEO Profiles

Telfair Museums Selects Lisa Grove as New Director/CEO

Category: CEO Profiles

SBJ Staff Report


Sept 26, 2011 – The Telfair Museums’ board of trustees have announced their selection of Lisa Grove as the Museums’ new Director/CEO. She replaces Steven High who resigned in May 2011 to became the Director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota Florida Board member Cathy Solomons is currently serving as Interim Director.

Grove is currently Deputy Director at Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, and will assume her new responsibilities at the Telfair beginning in January.

Only 41, Grove is a Kansas City native, married and the mother of three children, and has served as Deputy Director of St. Louis’ contemporary art museum since 2004. During her tenure, CAM produced over 85 exhibitions featuring nearly 250 artists.

A number of artists received the first major museum exhibition of their careers at CAM, including Laylah Ali, Lutz Bacher, David Noonan, Alexander Ross, Aida Ruilova, Gedi Sibony and Carey Young. Other artists exhibited include Richard Artschwager, Jim Hodges, Maya Lin, Yoshitomo Nara, Bruce Nauman, William Pope.L and Cindy Sherman.

In addition, Grove created and implemented a series of innovative public programs and community outreach initiatives to attract and engage new and more diverse audiences, according to the board of trustees. The most recent initiative under Grove's leadership is CAM's Art Bus, a mobile art studio visiting schools and community centers.

"We could not be more pleased and excited with having Lisa as the Telfair’s new Director/CEO" said Mills Fleming, Telfair Museums’ board chairman. "Lisa is a high energy person who is also a proven leader. In addition, her stellar academic credentials speak for themselves. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University and received a master’s degree in art history from the prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. She also received her MBA with Distinction from the University of London’s Imperial College Business School and was one of 40 Americans to be selected as a Marshall Scholar. Lisa's credentials as an art museum executive along with her academic achievements and her solid financial management skills are a powerful combination and are a perfect match for the Telfair."

During Grove's first year at CAM, she identified more than $500,000 in cost savings and revenue enhancements to eliminate an inherited deficit and continued to run CAM with a balanced budget and a surplus, according to Fleming. She was also responsible for spearheading strategic public relations activities through creative print and online platforms, resulting in increased local, national and international press coverage. "She is a rising star in the museum world and I know the Telfair is in great hands with Lisa.”

She was also instrumental in leading CAM to become internationally recognized as one of the country's leading museums of contemporary art,” he added.

Prior to her position at CAM, Grove was a Senior Strategy Consultant for Monitor Group in Cambridge, MA where she worked with Fortune 100 companies and non-profit organizations on issues including marketing, product development, and competitive analysis.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity to lead Telfair Museums, and to build upon the many successful programs that have established its prominence as a world-class museum and a keystone of Savannah's cultural, historical and economic success," stated Grove. “I was instantly impressed by the commitment of the Telfair's board of directors, staff members and the Savannah community and am eager to begin working with the museum's talented staff, volunteers, and board members."

Marilyn Hoffman of Search & Reference, a museum executive-recruiting firm, has conducted the national search for the board of trustees. The search committee was chaired by Cheri Roach, retired executive and Telfair Museums Trustee, and consisted of eight trustees, with a distinguished array of public and private sector experience, representing all aspects of the Telfair's interests, including members who have served on the board for more than a decade, newer trustees, and trustees who have strong involvement with other museums and cultural organization boards, Fleming explained.

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