Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Former Forest City executive Berliner now President/COO of Brooklyn Museum

Forest City Ratner has played a significant role as funder of arts and cultural institutions in Brooklyn, and now a recently departed executive has taken a position at the Brooklyn Museum, which in 2008 honored Bruce Ratner (and provoked protests).

So, as noted in a museum press release:
The Brooklyn Museum announced today that David Berliner has become its new President and Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the Museum’s operations and spearheading new strategic initiatives. Berliner had been a Board member [since 2011] and will now take a central operating role. Effective immediately, he will oversee operations and administration, financial management, outreach, and marketing and communications, and will work with Shelby White and Leon Levy Director Anne Pasternak on strategic planning and development.
His background:
Berliner played a key role in the growth and success of FCRC, and was responsible for overall corporate leadership, execution of transactions, and optimizing the diverse operating portfolio of the firm. He led the complex negotiations to acquire the Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball team and played an essential role in developing the Barclays Center arena. In addition to managing all transactional and legal aspects of the project, he oversaw all operational and administrative areas of FCRC, including human resources, information technology, and external relations. He retired from FCRC in 2015. 
Retired? He wasn't given a retirement party.

The press release summarizes his role in arts:
An ardent supporter of the arts, Berliner served as the director of Forest City Ratner’s arts and culture initiatives with a focus on visual art, which included a 20-year partnership with the Public Art Fund to present site-specific commissioned work by contemporary artists in the Metrotech Commons. He was also the driving force behind the celebrated visual arts program at Barclays Center, which features permanent commissioned works highlighting Brooklyn artists. Since 2008, Berliner has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization charged with the maintenance and programming of historic Madison Square Park in Manhattan. As a founding member of the Park’s curatorial committee, he played a key role in sourcing and presenting the work of contemporary artists exhibited in the park, developing worldwide recognition for its innovative art program Mad.Sq.Art. He joined the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Museum in 2011 and served as its Finance Chair and Treasurer commencing in 2012. He resigned from the Board in June 2016.
A bit more context

The Wall Street Journal added that his "hiring comes amid cost-cutting and buyouts aimed at reversing a projected $3 million deficit."

The Journal asked a question: "Anti-gentrification activists said you should be removed from the museum’s board because of your role at Forest City and the Barclays Center redevelopment project. Did that influence your decision to step down?"

'That had zero to do with it," Berliner responded. "Forest City has an incredible record of thoughtful, intelligent economic development." 

Well, whether or not his departure was fully amicable, he's sure maintaining the party line.

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