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Sue Williams, 'Pilgrim Hollidazzle,' 2020, oil

Getty Trust President James Cuno to Retire After a Decade

After a decade at the helm of one of the country’s largest and most important arts philanthropies, Getty Trust president and CEO James Cuno said that he will retire. Cuno, now 70, said he will step down from his post once his successor is selected and in place. He will later receive the title president emeritus.

In a statement, Cuno said, “It has been my honor to serve this tremendous organization, and to play a small part in expanding its mission to broaden and deepen our understanding of the human experience through the visual arts. It has been incredibly fulfilling to see the impact of our collective work in conservation, research, museum presentation, and philanthropy, and I am so grateful to the many dedicated staff and volunteers who make it all possible.”

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Sue Williams, 'Pilgrim Hollidazzle,' 2020, oil

In 2011, Cuno was appointed to lead the Getty Trust, which manages four Los Angeles–based organizations: the Getty Museum, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Research Institute, and the Getty Foundation, the organization’s main philanthropic arm. He had previously been the president of the Art Institute of Chicago since 2004, and had also held leadership positions at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College.

Under Cuno, the Getty Trust has continued its role as a philanthropic powerhouse through its funding of research-driven projects. Among its most notable projects is Pacific Standard Time, which launched in 2011. The Trust also supports institutions in the L.A. region, most recently by providing $10 million in seed money to the LA Arts Recovery Fund, which offered 90 L.A. arts organization grants to help them recover from the economic losses of the pandemic.

During the pandemic, Cuno ensured that no staff or contractors were laid off or furloughed and implemented a DEAI Plan that includes the formation of a staff DEAI Council.

Other initiatives undertaken during his tenure include the creation of the Getty Medal in 2013, the endowment of the directorships of the GRI and the Getty Museum, the establishment of the African American Art History Initiative at the GRI in 2019, and the Getty Trust’s purchase—with Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation—of the Johnson Publishing Co. Photograph Archives, also in 2019.

In a statement, David Lee, chairman of the Getty Trust’s board, said, “Jim brought great stability and energy to Getty, which has grown stronger through digitization and expanded engagement with both Los Angeles and the world. Jim deeply understands the power of art to unify the world, to teach us about humanity, and to connect us through our common heritage. He is one of our greatest art historians, and his leadership in this regard has been unwavering.”

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