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Getty Trust CEO James N. Wood, 69, dies suddenly

June 12, 2010 |  1:13 pm

Wood_2 Getty Trust President and chief executive James N. Wood died late Friday night of natural causes, board chairman Mark S. Siegel announced Saturday. Wood, 69, was reportedly in good health and his death was unexpected.

Wood came out of retirement to accept the job as Getty president in December 2006. He arrived in the wake of financial and other upheavals related to the tumultuous tenure of the trust's prior president, Barry Munitz, who resigned the post early in his second term. Wood, a highly respected former museum director, had been at the helm of the Art Institute of Chicago for 25 years before his retirement to Rhode Island.

Wood's extensive museum record included the directorship of the St. Louis Art Museum (1975-80) and positions at Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as trustee positions at the Harvard University Art Museums, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and other notable institutions. His experience was seen as an essential ingredient in restoring confidence in the Getty Trust.

In a statement, Siegel noted that Wood went about the challenge, which was soon complicated by turmoil in the U.S. economy, "with great kindness, strength and dignity."

Wood is survived by his wife, Emese, as well as daughters Lenke and Rebecca and their families. The full obituary is here

--Christopher Knight

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Photo: James N. Wood; Credit: J. Paul Getty Trust