Dr. Katherine E. Fleming, an accomplished academic leader and internationally recognized scholar of Mediterranean history, religion, and culture, will be the next President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Board of Trustees announced on Tuesday.
Dr. Fleming, the Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization and Professor of History and Hellenic Studies at New York University, comes to the Getty after serving as the NYU Provost—the university’s chief academic officer—since 2016. She will join Getty August 1, succeeding Jim Cuno, who will retire this summer after more than 10 years as Getty President and CEO.
“Katy Fleming is a distinguished scholar and educator. She is a visionary, experienced leader, with an extensive understanding of global cultures and their importance in uniting all of us,” said Getty Board Chair David Lee. “At this critical moment in our world, she is the ideal leader to guide one of the world’s largest, most complex cultural organizations, and to continue Getty’s trajectory of supporting and sharing visual arts and culture for the greater public good.”
As CEO, Dr. Fleming will oversee all local, national, and global operations of the 1,400-employee Getty Trust and its four component programs: the Getty Foundation, which issues global philanthropic grants supporting the visual arts; the Getty Research Institute, which houses scholars and the world’s largest art archives in the Getty Library; the Getty Conservation Institute, specializing in conservation science and training for cultural preservation around the world; and the J. Paul Getty Museum. The museum operates in two locations: the Getty Center, housing photographs and pre-20th-century European art in Los Angeles; and the Getty Villa, housing Greek, Roman, and other antiquities in Malibu.
In accepting the appointment, Fleming said: “The mission of the Getty is more vitally important than ever, as environmental degradation and global upheaval threaten the world’s artistic and cultural heritage in unprecedented ways. Getty’s remarkable ability to make an impact in Los Angeles and around the world make it both a huge honor and responsibility to be asked to take on its leadership. I look forward to working with Getty’s many experts to further its mission and to assert the critical relevance of art and the humanities to our diverse shared pasts and our collective future.”
Since 2004, Dr. Fleming has held administrative roles of increasing scope and responsibility at NYU, one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious research universities with over 66,000 students. Fleming has been instrumental in NYU’s emergence as one of the world’s most global institutions, and for several years had lead responsibility for its strategy in Europe. She joined the NYU faculty in 1998 as an assistant professor, became associate professor in 2004, and Onassis professor in 2007. In addition to her appointment in the Department of History, she is an associate in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.
Dr. Fleming’s extensive scholarship has focused on Mediterranean, Jewish, and Greek history and religion, including the emergence of the Modern Greek state; the reception of classical antiquity; and the role of changing attitudes toward religious affiliation. She speaks seven languages and is co-founder of a multi-year oral history project in Greece that has collected 55,000 histories, supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Dr. Fleming earned her BA in religion from Barnard College in 1988, her MA in religion from the University of Chicago in 1989, and her PhD in history from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1995. She began her academic career in Southern California in the 1990s, working as a lecturer at Cal State San Bernardino; UC Riverside; Loyola Marymount University; and UCLA before joining NYU.
The recipient of numerous national and international academic honors and awards, Dr. Fleming was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021.
From 2007-2011 Fleming was in residence at the École normale supérieure in Paris, where she held an Associate Professor position in the Department of History. She currently sits on the Administrative Board of the Chancellerie des Universités de Paris.
In Greece, Fleming served as President of the Board of the University of Piraeus (2012-2016), and she holds honorary doctorates from the University of Macedonia and Ionian University. She was awarded Honorary Greek Citizenship by the Hellenic Republic in 2015.
“Katy Fleming’s high energy, intellect, and entrepreneurial spirit, combined with her passionate commitment to advancing the understanding of global cultures, make her the ideal leader for the Getty Trust,” said Trustee Bruce Dunlevie, chair of the search committee. “Katy was our unanimous choice after an exhaustive international search. Under her strategic guidance, we expect Getty to further expand its impact in sharing and preserving our common human history.”