Bay Area philanthropist Diane “Dede” Wilsey, long a fixture in the leadership of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, is stepping down as the institution’s chief executive and board chair in the wake of a $2 million payout to a would-be whistle-blower, the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
Ms. Wilsey has presided for nearly two decades over the board of the organization, which runs the de Young and Legion of Honor art museums and became CEO in 2012. A well-connected socialite and art collector, she has been a benefactor and prodigious fundraiser for the museums, but her tenure has been marked by internal discord and allegations of autocratic leadership.
Fine Arts officials said her departure is not connected to the $2 million settlement to avert a wrongful-termination suit by a former chief financial officer who claimed she was pushed out last year for raising questions about Ms. Wilsey’s engineering of a $450,000 payment to an ailing ex-staffer. The institution said in April that anonymous donors would repay the $450,000, which remains the subject of a state investigation. Max Hollein, the museums’ newly arrived director, will take over CEO duties, and the board will choose new leadership at its next meeting in October.