Chief Financial Officer at The Public Theater

Full Time

About The Public Theater

The Public is theater of, by, and for the people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone.


The Public’s wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Lab, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub. The Public Theater is home to over 200 full-time staff members and up to an additional 300 part-time or contract hires at any given time.  


Our Commitment to Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

The Public is firmly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We are unequivocally committed to fighting systemic racism and injustice within our organization and in the work we do. We aspire to be a place where all – including those from underrepresented communities such as people of color, those with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome, celebrated, and can thrive. We hold ourselves accountable to becoming an actively anti-racist organization and are transparent in our commitments. We understand this requires staff to have difficult conversations, confront biases, and shift away from white supremacist cultural norms. We want our professionals to have rewarding careers and be valued for their contribution.


Our community came together to develop an Anti-Racism and Cultural Transformation Plan that reflects the goals, values, and commitments that we are making as an organization to move closer to our aspirations for ourselves and the entire theater community. 


About the Opportunity

The Public Theater is seeking a collaborative leader to serve as a strategic partner and advisor to help steward the institution’s finance and administrative strategy as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Reporting to the Executive and Artistic Directors, and serving on the Senior Leadership Team, the CFO will oversee financial operations and strategy, facility operations, IT, and legal. This critical work comes during an inflection point, as the landmark theater repositions itself from the impact of the pandemic on the performing arts ecosystem. In partnership with the executive team, the Board, and other leaders of the organization, the CFO will lead The Public to its next level of financial strength and operational efficiency. 


Adept at strategic financial management and planning, board management, IT, compliance and administration, the CFO will advance strategies that ensure sound fiscal policies and proper infrastructure and systems are in place in an inherently dynamic performing arts environment. The CFO will have five direct reports including the Controller, Associate Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, the Director of Facility Operations, Director of IT, and Sr. Contracts Manager. Alongside their finance leadership, the CFO will provide sound advice and counsel to the Board of Directors, and executive team, helping to manage and mitigate risk, both through oversight of legal activities across the organization and by managing relationships with outside counsel. The CFO will work collaboratively to develop operational and programmatic strategies that engender strong collaboration between production and administration in support of The Public’s mission. 


The CFO will also ensure smooth day-to-day operations of the theater’s physical infrastructure, including its landmark home at Astor Place, the Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub, and the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, which is undergoing a $70MM renovation. This is an exciting opportunity for a collaborative and seasoned financial and administrative leader who is passionate about using the arts to promote inclusivity, democracy, and social justice.


Areas of Leadership

The CFO will be responsible for all financial, accounting, operations, compliance, and technology matters for The Public Theater. This leader will provide management oversight of Finance, Facility Operations, Legal, and Information Technology teams.


Organizational Leadership & Strategy: Partner with the Executive Director and Artistic Director - who function as the co-CEOs of the business - to inform strategic decision-making. Enhance Board members’ fiscal oversight by serving as a liaison, trainer, and partner to The Public’s Board of Directors, communicating financial information and trends. Establish clear communication pathways between Audit, Investment, and Finance Committees. Lead, implement, and communicate changes to systems, processes, and policies across the organization. Foster a culture that encourages both growth and innovation and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization and the work. Ensure effective and compliant business operations, where risk is evaluated and mitigated on an ongoing basis. Advise and partner with teams across the organization to further develop budgeting and financial planning abilities by providing financial expertise, establishing strong systems, and refining processes to ensure accountability.


  • Key Qualifications: Demonstrated senior leadership experience in finance, which includes team leadership, strategic financial planning, setting vision and direction, and advising executive leaders from a finance perspective with a preference for experience working with complex revenue and expense models common to performing arts institutions. History of productive partnerships with boards, particularly in a nonprofit context. Proven ability to work well with senior leadership to support organization-wide policy planning and communication. History of successfully leading organization-wide change initiatives in an equitable and inclusive way.


Strategic Financial Management: Set the vision and the strategy for finance at The Public, including leading accounting and finance compliance operations, short- and long-term forecasting, and financial planning and investment strategies in alignment with the institution’s strategic plan. Direct the preparation of financial statements, business activity reports, financial position forecasts, annual budgets, and other reports required by the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and external regulatory agencies. Manage a 10-year financial plan, including a $150M capital campaign funding key capital projects and growing the endowment. Advise the Executive Director, Artistic Director, and Board on the organization’s financial performance and long-term financial planning, informed by rigorous financial analysis, risk assessments, and what-if scenario modeling. Develop and manage dynamic financial and business planning models, along with performance metrics that drive the development of monthly and quarterly reports and the annual budgeting process.


  • Key Qualifications: Experience leading finance strategy and financial operations, preferably in a rapidly growing organization. Ability to translate a strategic plan into a financial model. Demonstrable technical accounting background and hands-on involvement in finance and development for institutions with complex revenue and expense models. Track record of providing enterprise-wide financial planning and analysis to support decision-making, budget development, and budget management. Demonstrated ability to translate big-picture strategy into workable finance processes and systems for day-to-day operations. Able to translate complex information and empower others to utilize financial information when making decisions. Exceptional strategic and analytical skills, including financial planning, forecasting, modeling and data analysis. Dexterity with a variety of financial software applications including Financial Edge, Tessitura, and ADP Workforce.


Facility Operations, Legal, & IT Administration: Ensure effective, efficient technology and communication infrastructure and service delivery across the organization. Leverage automation and technology solutions to drive higher-level accounting functions and departmental efficiencies. Align strategic technology and space planning, ensuring physical and digital security of The Public Theater assets and facilities. Assess the current infrastructure to improve operations and enhance communications across departments. Manage the Sr. Contracts Manager, to ensure strong oversight of Public’s day-to-day legal and related business affairs including contracts, agreements, and revamps of departmental contracts with outside counsel. Negotiate and oversee the management of capital purchases and leases. Participate in contract negotiations on behalf of The Public.  


  • Key Qualifications: Experience providing functional oversight to IT, facilities, operations, compliance, or administration teams, preferably in a nonprofit or performing arts institution. Experience in strategic technology, space planning, and nonprofit business administration at the management or executive level. Experience in contract management, including development and vetting of contract documents, monitoring, and compliance and administration of federal and state regulations.


People Leadership & Development: Provide functional management of Finance, Facility Operations, Legal, and IT teams. Build upon a positive team culture to develop, motivate, lead, and inspire credible, trusted, and engaged team members. Build a “culture of team” within the Finance, Administrative, and IT teams, contributing to an equitable and inclusive environment that promotes cross-functional collaboration and unity. 


  • Key Qualifications: Track record of team-building and retention, with a history of creating equitable, inclusive cultures and teams and employing antiracist principles in management. Demonstrable strength in mentorship, coaching, individual, and team development, and enhancing workplace culture. History of rallying high-performing teams around a vision and leading them through organizational evolution and change. Experience prioritizing career development of staff members and formalizing performance planning and succession planning as part of regular manager interactions and as a part of the performance review process. Capacity to thrive in a fast-paced, complex organization, working with teams that have competing priorities and unpredictable schedules and agendas.


Salary, Location, & Benefits

The salary range for this role is $235,000 - $250,000, based on experience. This is a full-time, exempt role, based in NYC. The Public Theater staff are currently in a hybrid/remote model, with expectations for the CFO to be onsite 2-3 days per week and to be on-call for emergencies, along with all other Senior Leadership Team members. Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.


The Public is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the theater field are strongly encouraged to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, familial status, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, age, or veteran status.


To Apply

This search is being managed by Axis Talent Partners, a boutique search firm that partners with social impact organizations. Interested candidates should submit an application, including a resume detailing their qualifications for the position and their interest in The Public Theater’s mission to here.


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