Rich Cherry is resigning as Chief Operating Officer of the Film Academy’s under-construction movie museum after barely a year on the job, an Academy Museum spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday. In a statement, the spokesperson said Cherry would leave at the end of February. “We wish him success as he focuses on his museum consultancy firm.” the statement said. “The museum has begun a search for the next COO.”
In an email, the spokesperson said Cherry was ill and unavailable to discuss his departure.
The resignation is one more jolt for a project that has been dogged by delays and growing cost since the builders broke ground at a mid-Wilshire Blvd. site two years ago. With a fund-raising goal of about $400 million, the museum — once expected to open in 2017 — is now likely to begin operating sometime after next year’s Oscar show.
Cherry, who was previously a key executive at The Broad museum in Los Angeles, took the chief operating officer post early last year, as academy officials struggled to get a grip on both fund-raising and the complexities of construction. He was instrumental in recruiting a new contractor, Matt Construction, to oversee the building of a dramatic, spherical structure that will house a theater and other facilities.
As Chief Operating Officer under museum director Kerry Brougher, Cherry had served partly as a liaison to academy boards on matters tied to the construction, which is being financed by a large bond offering while the academy continues to solicit donations and collect on pledges. During his tenure at the museum, he continued to be listed on the website of Modern Operations as that company’s “principal.” Why he left the academy job, however, was not immediately clear.
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In its statement, the academy said it was “grateful” for Cherry’s service. “During his time with the museum, he helped guide us effectively through a critical period of construction and institutional planning.”
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