Terry Stewart, long-time president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum announced Friday morning that after 14 years he will be stepping down from the position by the end of 2013.

“Nearly 14 years is a long run for any CEO,” said Stewart. “We’ve ended a period where we had to give a lot of focus to the renovations of the Museum, to building the Library and Archives, to the capital campaign that made those efforts possible and to bring back the induction ceremonies on a regular basis.”

Stewart, 66, feels that after being with the Rock Hall since 1999, it is time to pass the job on and expects the next CEO to be able to secure the long-term future of the Museum by building upon it. “We’re entering a new period with new priorities and I think that’s the right time to hand off to a new leader,” said Stewart.

During Stewart’s time at the Rock Hall, he was able to revamp the Museum’s business model and bring it to its best financial position in history. “Terry Stewart is an amazing leader and the rock and roll community, and Northeast Ohio, owes him a big debt of gratitude,” said William Rowley, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum board chair. “Today, the Rock Hall is in the best and strongest position it has ever been. In many ways, it was Stewart who helped us recognize and realize our true potential as a museum,” Rowley added.

Stewart also worked hard to create a repository to aid global scholarships in the rock and roll art form when the Rock Hall was able to open the Library and Archives building, located on the Metro Campus of Cuyahoga Community College, last month.

Under Stewart’s time as CEO and president, the Museum re-established itself as a cornerstone of the Cleveland community. It now offers public events, affordable performances, festivals and other programs as well as a nationally recognized education program. These programs are working to engage Cleveland’s diverse ethnic communities in the Museum and honor the wide range of music styles and cultures it celebrates.

The idea of the Rock Hall was created on April 20, 1983 but it took until 1995 for the Museum to open its doors in Cleveland after large debate about where it should be located.

Stewart, named CNBC Marketing Executive of the Year in 1991 while at Marvel Entertainment Group, was able to use his previous experience to guarantee that Cleveland would host the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony every third year, next to be held in 2015. He has helped turn the ceremony into a broader, publicly accessible, multi-day community event that has already proven to be successful.

Stewart noted that the next CEO will play a key role in the continued revitalization of Cleveland’s lakefront and planning for the return of the Induction Ceremonies in 2015. The Museum’s Board of Trustees has formed a search committee and retained an executive search firm, conducted by Heidrick & Struggles’ Bonnie Gwin, to identify the next CEO. Stewart says that he will stay on as active CEO and president until the board makes a decision on his successor and will be available through December 2013 to ensure that there is a smooth transition.

– Devon Marti / 98.5 WNCX


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