Provost Katherine Fleming to leave NYU for Getty Trust

Katherine Fleming, who has served as NYU’s chief academic officer since 2016, will preside over the J. Paul Getty Trust and its $9.2 billion endowment.


Manasa Gudavalli

NYU Provost Katherine Fleming has been appointed the president and CEO of the Getty Trust, a multi-billion dollar California-based trust fund. A new provost has yet to be appointed. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Arnav Binaykia and Abby Wilson

NYU provost Katherine Fleming was selected by the J. Paul Getty Trust, a multi-billion dollar cultural and philanthropic organization based in California, to be its next president and CEO on Tuesday, April 5. She will assume her new role on Aug. 1, 2022.

“I could not be happier for her, of course, and I commend the Getty Trust for recognizing her talents,” university president Andrew Hamilton wrote. “But, for NYU, the loss of Katy and her great gifts will be significant and keenly felt.”

The Getty Trust oversees a number of eminent art institutions, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It is backed by an endowment totaling $9.2 billion as of 2021. A committee comprising members of the fund’s board of trustees selected Fleming unanimously after a search process, according to the board’s chair David Lee. James Cuno, who has served as the foundation’s president and CEO since 2011, announced his plans to retire on June 28, 2021. He said he would remain in his role until a successor was chosen.

In her new role, Fleming will direct the J. Paul Getty Museum and the organization’s other programs, including the Getty Foundation and research and conservation initiatives. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times after her selection was announced, she said that one of her main concerns would be investigating the impacts of the climate emergency on the arts and humanities.

“Climate change is going to be one of the major, if not the major, defining features of human existence over the coming century or so,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I wouldn’t call it a vision, but awareness of that fact is something that informs my thinking in my current job and will certainly inform my thinking as I take the helm at the trust.”

Fleming, an Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization in the College of Arts and Sciences, started at NYU in 1998 as a faculty member in the history department. She became provost in 2016 after serving as the university’s deputy provost for three years. During her time as provost, she spearheaded several faculty advancement initiatives, including a retirement program for tenured faculty, a new Work Life office to guide university employees and the Global Research Initiative, which provides funding and support for faculty and graduate student research.

The end of this academic year will mark a number of changes to the composition of NYU’s senior academic leadership. Wendy Suzuki was announced as the next dean of the College of Arts & Science in February. At least three other NYU colleges will get new deans before the start of 2022-23 academic year, including the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the School of Global Public Health and the Silver School of Social Work.

NYU will begin its selection process for a new provost in the coming months. Hamilton said that in the meantime, information about the appointment of interim leadership will be released shortly.

Contact Arnav Binaykia at [email protected] and Abby Wilson at [email protected].