Academy Museum Names Brendan Connell Jr. Chief Operating Officer

©A.M.P.A.S

He joins the museum from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has named Brendan Connell, Jr., its new chief operating officer, the museum announced Monday.

Connell’s duties, which begin June 20, will include oversight and management of operations, administration and finance, among other areas. He also will serve as a core member of the team overseeing the construction of the new museum and will be the key strategist in establishing operating procedures and processes for the museum.

Connell succeeds the museum's first COO, Rich Cherry, who joined the project in February 2017 but then resigned from the post earlier this year.

Connell joins the Academy Museum from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where he spent 18  years, serving in both managerial and legal roles, most recently as deputy chief operating officer, responsible for day-to-day operations in the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building. During his tenure, Connell launched a number of initiatives affecting visitors’ experiences at the museum, oversaw the redesign of its security systems and safety protocols and served on the leadership team overseeing the restoration of the museum, which was completed for the building’s 50th anniversary in 2009. He also led the museum’s human resources team.

In announcing the appointment, museum director Kerry Brougher said, “The Academy Museum is thrilled to welcome Brendan Connell to the team at this exciting moment as we approach the 2019 opening. As a seasoned museum executive, Brendan will be an invaluable asset to the institution, rounding out our leadership team with his tremendous expertise in all areas of museum operations, from high-level strategic planning to real-time, on-the-ground tactics.”

Commented Connell: “I could not be more excited about working with Kerry and Museum leadership to help make the vision for this amazing film center a reality and to establish the Academy Museum as a must-visit destination for movie lovers from around the world. I look forward to building a team dedicated to innovations that energize the visitor’s experience at this extraordinary institution.”

Prior to joining the Guggenheim, Connell was legal director at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, which provides legal services for artists, and he also was a litigation associate at the New York City law firm Reid & Priest.

Connell, a graduate of Dartmouth College and the New York University School of Law, has served on the steering committee of the ALI-CLE Legal Issues in Museum Administration conference and, since 2002, has been a guest lecturer at Columbia Law School, where he speaks on exempt organization topics. He also is president of DGALA, Dartmouth’s 1,100-member LGBTQIA+ alumni/ae association and was elected to the executive committee of the college’s Association of Alumni in 2016.