Marcus Center president and CEO to retire at end of year

Will continue fundraising for campus renovations

Paul Mathews

Last updated on November 21st, 2019 at 02:36 pm

Paul Mathews, the longtime president and chief executive officer of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, will retire at the end of the year, according to an announcement today.

Mathews has led the Marcus Center in downtown Milwaukee since 1998. He will remain with the center through the leadership transition and continue fundraising for its campus master plan after his retirement, the announcement said.

“Leading the Marcus Center for the past two decades has been an incredible honor,”  Mathews said. “Thanks to our many supporters, committed board and unmatched staff, the Marcus Center celebrates its 50th Anniversary stronger than ever. It is an exciting time for the Marcus Center, and for Milwaukee, and I look forward to passing the baton to new leadership as the organization begins its next 50 years of service to our community.”

The Marcus Center board of directors will launch a search process for his successor.

“We are deeply grateful for Paul’s service to the Marcus Center over the past 21 years,” said Laura Gough, Marcus Center board chairperson. “He has been a transformational leader, deepening the Marcus Center’s connections within the community, establishing a strong financial foundation and positioning the Marcus Center for continued success well into the future.”

In late 2018, the Marcus Center unveiled plans to make a series of upgrades at its downtown campus, located at 929 N. Water St., over the next three to five years. The project will include expanding the center’s plaza, installing new water fountains and establishing a flexible great lawn for event. A host of interior improvements at the center are also planned.

The project is expected to be funded primarily through private donations, along with about $10 million in capital funding that is included in the Marcus Center’s 10-year agreement with Milwaukee County.

The organization has not disclosed its capital campaign goal.

Gough noted several accomplishments from Mathews’ tenure, including the center’s 49 consecutive years of balanced budgets and the securing of a 99-year lease with the county to ensure the center’s long-term future.

The center, which was established in 1969, is home to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera, First Stage and a variety of community events.

“Through Paul’s clear vision and strong leadership, the Marcus Center is incredibly well positioned for the future,” said David Marcus, Marcus Center board member and chairman of Marcus Corporation Foundation. “We are sincerely grateful for his many years of commitment to the Marcus Center.”

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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