Max Hollein, the current director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, is poised to take over what is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious art institutions, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Born in Vienna as the son of Austrian design and architecture legend Hans Hollein, he has a long track record of overseeing major art museums in Europe and the United States, and even began his career as a project director at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

He now returns to New York to take over the financially troubled institution, which reportedly had a budget deficit approaching 40 million dollars in 2016 and was ultimately forced to postpone the planned opening of a costly new museum wing. Furthermore, the Met recently produced negative headlines by ending its popular suggested-donation policy and replacing it with mandatory admission fees for non-residents.

© Gaby Gerster

With a focus on reaching out to new audiences using digital initiatives, Hollein is seen as the ideal candidate to help the Met. At Frankfurt’s Städel Museum, where he served as the director from 2006 to 2016, he created an outreach strategy focusing on technology, and in San Francisco, he successfully spearheaded the museums website’s “Digital Stories.”

In a statement regarding his appointment, Hollein said that “The Met remains a unique place where visitors can experience firsthand the artistic achievements of humankind. We now have many other ways to disseminate cultural education and knowledge, and an obligation to do so. Celebrating artistic excellence goes hand in hand with broadening the stories we tell about the works of art in our care. Together with Dan [Brodsky], I hope to provide the guidance, energy, and support needed to lead this beloved institution into the future and inspire its audiences in New York and around the world.”

Hollein has a reputation as a skilled fundraiser. At the Städel Museum, he was able to obtain a large share of the institution’s budget from private donations.

“He is an innovative and inspiring museum leader and has a proven record of building collections and organizing outstanding exhibitions.” – Daniel Brodsky, chairman of the Met’s board