Press Release

February 06, 2019

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Appoints Henry Timms as President and CEO


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Appoints Henry Timms as President and CEO

Leader of the 92nd Street Y and Innovative Co-Founder of the Global “Giving Tuesday” Movement to Bring Dynamic Vision to the World’s Leading Performing Arts Center


New York – February 6, 2019 – Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has appointed Henry Timms, a transformative leader and strategic visionary with deep expertise in the arts and culture, digital, and non-profit sectors as its next President and Chief Executive Officer, Board Chair Katherine Farley announced today. Timms will join Lincoln Center in early May 2019.


As a leader, innovator and thinker, Timms has had global impact across the non-profit and cultural sectors, and far beyond. He has launched impactful social movements, such as #GivingTuesday, which to date has catalyzed more than $1 billion online in the United States alone, and modernized the 144-year-old 92nd Street Y for the 21st century. His writing and thinking on “new power” has influenced everyone from leading politicians and CEOs to celebrated artists, with his recent book being shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year for 2018.  


As the 11th President and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Timms will call on his vast experience to lead the premier arts institution as it seeks to develop collaborative initiatives, attract and engage new audiences, and prepare for the redesign of David Geffen Hall.


“Henry is a trailblazing leader of the highest caliber. His combination of collegiality, digital savvy and transformational thinking will be an enormous asset as we develop exciting new projects, and bring the well-known excellence of the arts at Lincoln Center to the broadest possible audience,” said Farley, Board Chair, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “Henry’s signature style is collaboration, complemented by innovation, ingenuity and enthusiasm, which will serve him well as he works closely with all of our constituent arts organizations.”


“The performing arts transform lives, forge mutual understanding and strengthen societies,” said Timms. “The vision and commitment of Lincoln Center’s board, and the talent of the leaders and organizations on campus, are unparalleled. The privilege of collaborating with these remarkable individuals and of leading this unique institution is an extraordinary honor.”


Timms comes to Lincoln Center from his post as President and CEO of the 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center that creates programs and movements that foster learning and civic engagement.


Most notably, he co-founded #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to philanthropy and community that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Mobilizing tens of millions of people in more than 60 countries, it has become the world’s first global day of online giving. As President Barack Obama commented, “Around the world, #GivingTuesday is a grassroots movement that illustrates the impact we can have when we all pull together.” The campaign has won a wide range of honors, including a Cannes Lion at the International Festival of Creativity, and winning the Y a spot on Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” list. 


“This is a truly exceptional appointment,” said Deborah Borda, President and Chief Executive Officer, New York Philharmonic. “This is a great partnership for our shared future. Henry’s ability to work with our remarkable artistic community will provide a pathway to a vibrant future for all Lincoln Center, as well as forge a deeper connection to our city.”


During his tenure at 92Y, Timms oversaw the organization’s robust and dynamic programs, including its legendary talk series, the Harkness Dance Center, the Unterberg Poetry Center, and the prestigious Tisch Center for the Performing Arts. He was responsible for launching and executing the Y’s first major capital campaign of the 21st century, securing a wide-range of signature capital gifts, totaling more than $160 million. The campaign was praised for its innovative use of virtual reality to showcase the potential transformation of the Y. Timms was also responsible for eliminating an historic deficit at the 92Y, delivering a balanced budget and healthy operating surpluses, and developing new relationships with major corporations and foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Templeton Foundation.


While at the helm of 92Y, Timms also implemented a strategic re-positioning effort widely credited for advancing the organization beyond the norms of a traditional non-profit. He co-created a dynamic innovation center with first-ever Chief Innovation Officer Asha Curran, which grew into the award-winning Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact. The Center has launched a wide range of programs, including the Social Good Summit, a unique partnership of the Gates Foundation, UNDP, Mashable and the UN Foundation, as well as the Women in Power initiative, a cross-sector fellowship program designed to help high-potential women advance to the top levels of leadership in their fields. Timms will continue his connection with 92Y as co-chair of the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, and in guiding Giving Tuesday as it moves to the next level.


Timms is the co-author of the international bestseller New Power: How Power Works in the 21st Century – and How You Can Make It Work for You, with Jeremy Heimans, the CEO of Purpose. The book, published in 2018, is a follow-up to their Harvard Business Review article. Their work on “new power” has been named by CNN as one of the 10 top ideas to change the world. The book was named a 2018 Book of the Year by Bloomberg, Inc., Fortune and the Financial Times. David Brooks in the New York Times called it, “the best window I have seen into this new world.”  


Timms has worked in the arts and cultural world throughout his career. Prior to his time at 92Y, Timms served as the International Director of the Louise Blouin Foundation in London, developing cultural programs around the world. Earlier in his career he worked for two of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ charities that emphasized the importance of the arts for children and their value to the business world.

Timms is a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, a Hauser Visiting Leader at Harvard Kennedy School and a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. Timms holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Durham. 


He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA), where he is chair of the nominating committee for the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin Medal, which was presented in 2018 to Herbie Hancock. He also serves on the board of Independent Sector, the industry body for the non-profit sector.


Timms will join Lincoln Center in early May 2019. In the interim, Acting President Russell Granet will continue to work closely with Katherine Farley and senior management, including Chief Operating Officer Liza Parker, to ensure a successful transition. 


“Russell has done an excellent job serving as Acting President throughout the past few months, and we are very grateful for his leadership and commitment,” said Farley.  



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Press Contacts:

Alison Hendrie

[email protected] / 212.875.5101


Alice McGillion

[email protected] / 212.843.8039

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Henry Timms
Caption: Henry Timms; Credit Michael Creagh
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