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Autry National Center names Daniel M. Finley as CEO [updated]

August 13, 2010 |  3:26 pm


The Autry National Center -- which runs the Museum of the American West and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian -- said Friday that it has named Daniel M. Finley as its new president and chief executive officer. Finley will succeed John Gray, who led the Autry for close to 11 years before announcing his retirement this year.

Finley served for close to five years as the head of the Milwaukee Public Museum, an institution devoted to natural history and anthropology. His tenure at the museum was largely devoted to rescuing the institution from a serious financial hole created by declining donations and budget deficits.

Finley In 2005, the Milwaukee Public Museum was in the midst of a serious financial meltdown that threatened its very survival. But the institution has since seen significant fiscal improvements, though furloughs were still being enacted as recently as 2009.

Before joining the Milwaukee Public Museum, Finley served as a county executive at Waukesha County, Wisconsin, from 1991 to 2005.

Finley is set to start his new job on Aug. 31. The Autry said it had conducted a national search by the recruitment firm of Korn/Ferry International. Finley will head an organization with a $14-million annual operating budget and an endowment of approximately $100 million.

Recently, the Autry has been dealing with a frustrated attempt at a $175-million expansion of its facilities, ultimately withdrawing its proposal last year. The organization said this year that it will embark on a seven-year, $75-million renovation of both its Griffith Park museum and an annex building in Burbank.

-- David Ng

[updated: An earlier version of this story said that Daniel M. Finley's first name was David.]

Photo: the Autry National Center. Credit: via

Photo: Daniel M. Finely. Credit: Autry National Center.