Staff Reporter

Less than a year after its acclaimed opening, the Getty Center is sharply scaling back.

One of the center's four institutes is being shut down, and another is being cut or possibly merged into another. Two senior managers have resigned and layoffs are imminent, Getty Center officials confirmed.

Also being pursued are corporate sponsorships to generate revenues and reduce expenses.

"Some critics of the realignment are probably thinking, 'They have all the money in the world, why are they cutting?' " said Barry Munitz, president and chief operating officer of the $8 billion Getty Trust.

"Not all of it was working so well. We don't have all of the money in the world. We are re-examining what we are doing. Some of it could be done more efficiently and more cost-effectively. We need to face fiscal reality," he said.

The Getty's new fiscal reality includes a $300 million paper loss since July, the result of stock market declines. While Getty officials stressed that the market losses are unrelated to its large-scale restructuring, the losses are not being taken lightly.

"All of our budget is linked to the portfolio," said Munitz. "We are being very careful. Our fate is not different from any other large endowment. It makes us a little bit nervous."

The trust's investment portfolio is currently valued at about $4.5 billion, down from $4.8 billion in early July. Its other assets include the $1 billion Getty Center, another museum in Malibu and a huge collection of art.

The center operates on an annual budget of about 4 percent of the endowment, or roughly $200 million. So the recent loss on Wall Street was $100 million more than the center's annual budget.

"It definitely causes you to flinch," said Stephen Rountree, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Getty Center. "We have gotten to a point where we are spending our entire budget. We have to look carefully at what we are doing."

Orchestrating the downsizing, which does not include the new Getty Museum, is Munitz, former chancellor of the California State University system who took the helm of the Getty Trust in January.

Munitz has evaluated each of the Getty Center's four institutes education, information, conservation and research to see where the center was duplicating its efforts and how the programs could be operated more efficiently.


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