Doug Shipman has been named the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woodruff Arts Center, effective July 18, 2017. He succeeds Virginia Hepner, who is retiring from the position after five very successful years leading the nation’s third largest arts center, home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art.
Mr. Shipman has been Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of BrightHouse, a division of the Boston Consulting Group, in Atlanta since 2015. The global creative consultancy helps organizations grow their people, profits and social impact. Their clients include Emory University, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Cartoon Network, Scripps Networks, Vanity Fair Magazine and Georgia Aquarium, amongst others. Shipman also worked as a Principal with the Boston Consulting Group in New York, Atlanta and Mumbai from 2001 to 2007. In that position he led project teams on several continents in a variety of industries and function areas, including financial services, travel and tourism, medical devices and consumer foods. Between 2007 and 2015, he was the founding Chief Executive Office for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. He led project teams on several continents in a variety of industries and functional areas, including financial services, travel and tourism, medical devices, airlines and consumer foods.
“Doug is a perfect choice to lead the Woodruff Arts Center as we enter an especially exciting period in our history,” said Doug Hertz, past chairman of the Arts Center Board of Trustees and chair of the CEO search committee. “He has enjoyed great success as a leader in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds and he has strong roots in the Atlanta community. He brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will help the Arts Center continue to grow and thrive.”
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this wonderful institution,” said Mr. Shipman. “The arts are the heart and collective conscience of any community and the Woodruff Arts Center has been an incredible platform for presenting Atlanta the best in theater, music and art for nearly 50 years. It is such a privilege for me to take on this new role and I can’t wait to begin working with the array of artists and supporters who will continue to allow the Arts Center and the broader Atlanta arts community to thrive.”
Though an Arkansas native, Mr. Shipman’s ties to Atlanta are long established. He graduated magna cum laude from Emory University in 1995 with B.A. degrees in Economics and Political Science. From there, he went on to receive a Master’s of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School and a Master’s of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, both in 2001. Currently, Mr. Shipman is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Carter Center, a board member of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, an Advisory Board Member at Dad’s Garage and is active within the Harvard Alumni Association and Emory Alumni Association, where he is a past president. From 2011 to 2013 he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Phil Jacobs, newly elected chairman of the Arts Center’s Board, added, “Thanks to the leadership of Doug Hertz and Virginia Hepner and the efforts of the entire Woodruff Arts Center, we have made great strides in the last five years, artistically and operationally. Now, I look forward to working with Doug Shipman in continuing to build on that momentum.”
In 2016, the Arts Center completed one of the largest fundraising initiatives in its history, raising $112 million in its Transformation Campaign. On the heels of that success, the Alliance Theatre has begun the first-ever renovation of its main performance space, which will be completed by the fall of 2018; the High Museum of Art is planning a major reinstallation of its permanent collection in the fall of 2018; 11 new musician positions have been funded in perpetuity for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, bringing the size of the Orchestra to 88 musicians; and free programming for families on Sundays has drawn nearly 120,000 patrons to the Arts Center in the last two years, with 20 percent of them first-time visitors.