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New Park Leader Leads the Pack

Thursday, December 14, 2017
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Central Park Conservancy Chairman Thomas L. Kempner, Jr. announced today that the Conservancy’s board had elected Elizabeth “Betsy” Weinberg Smith to be its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effected March 1. In an email to Conservancy supporters, Kempner wrote, “Betsy is a dedicated advocate of urban parks and open space and brings strong management, government, philanthropic, and parks experience to the role.” Smith was previously the NYC Parks Assistant Commissioner during the Bloomberg administration, with responsibilities that included managing the annual roster of events on city parkland. Speaking of her new role to the New York Times, Smith said “The challenge is to envision a fresh Central Park Conservancy . . . there are new sources of wealth and new priorities for giving and new technology.”


Before her roles with the parks department, Smith worked in finance for over 25 years, occupying positions in commercial banking at J.P. Morgan and in venture capital and private equity management at Prospect Group, as well as roles at Harry F. Oppenheimer, the Rockefeller Financial Group and Sotheby’s. Smith is also the Vice Chair of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and of Scripps College, of which she is a graduate. She is also a chair of the Library of America.


Smith replaces outgoing Conservancy President and CEO Douglas Blonsky. “With her distinguished record of public service ― specifically at NYC Parks ― Betsy will provide inspiring leadership to the Central Park Conservancy,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said in a statement. “Under Doug’s epoch-defining leadership, the Conservancy strengthened its partnership with NYC Parks and shared its expertise with parks across our city. We look forward to Betsy’s vision and intelligence further developing this deeply beneficial relationship.”


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