Russell Reynolds Recruits President for Stratford Hall

May 31, 2016 – Russell Reynolds Associates has recruited John S. Bacon as president of Stratford Hall.

In this capacity, Mr. Bacon will be responsible for raising the profile of Stratford Hall’s mission, directing operations on site, representing the institution in the community and, more broadly, leveraging its property and programming to increase visitation and financial support.

Stratford Hall, a historic house museum in Westmoreland County, VA, was the plantation house of four generations of the Lee family of Virginia. It was the boyhood home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, and was the birthplace of Robert Edward Lee (1807–70), who commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War, and then became the president of Washington College, which later became Washington and Lee University.

“Over the past six months, the search committee worked with the search firm Russell Reynolds Associates in a very thorough executive search,” said Mary Jane Brock, chair of the board’s search committee. “John emerged as the committee’s first choice, and the board of directors unanimously voted to approve the committee’s recommendation during its most recent meeting.”


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“John is a seasoned and proven non-profit executive who is uniquely qualified to move the organization forward,” said Mary Wilson, chair of Stratford’s board of directors. “We are very pleased to have him on board with us.”

Mr. Bacon previously was with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg for 28 years, where he honed his executive leadership skills through service as a member of the president’s senior staff and oversight of staff and financial resources. As senior vice president for external affairs, Mr. Bacon’s executive responsibilities included creation and supervision of a vibrant integrated marketing and communications strategy; oversight of the visitor center and admission ticket sales; community and government relations; publication of a quarterly history magazine; and corporate archives and records. He first joined Colonial Williamsburg as in-house legal officer, assuming responsibility for all legal work at the Foundation and becoming its first in-house general counsel.

He also served as chairman and a board member of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Alliance, chairman and board member of the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee, and board member of the United Way of Greater Williamsburg and the Greater Williamsburg YMCA.

“Stratford Hall’s mission, centered on the leadership of generations of the Lee family, and the range of opportunities on site are gems, and I am excited to help convey that identity to current and future audiences,” said Mr. Bacon. “The historic site arena is challenging but immensely important and enriching, and Stratford Hall, with its exceptional grounds and riverfront, has fascinating stories to tell and memorable experiences to offer.”

Museums continue to turn to executive search firms to fill their senior leadership roles. Here’s a recent sampling:

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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