Matt Hayes, who takes over as president and CEO of the Museum of Flight on Aug. 15, stands next to the B-17 he helped restore as a museum volunteer in 2000. COURTESY PHOTO

Museum of Flight gets new CEO Aug. 15

The Museum of Flight today announced that Doug King will step down as president and CEO of the Museum of Flight in Tukwila on Aug. 15.

Executive Vice President Matt Hayes will take over as president and CEO. King will stay on as a consultant to the museum and will assist with the transition as well as handling a variety of external assignments.

“This is a good time to make this change,” King said in a media release. “When I became president and CEO seven years ago, there was much to be done. We made adjustments to the staff structure and began a long-range planning process that is ongoing. And we embarked on a comprehensive campaign to raise funds for multiple projects like developing new educational programs, and building an Aviation Pavilion to cover much of our large aircraft collection. The campaign was tremendously successful and we accomplished most of what we set out to do, so now is a perfect time for a transition. I’m very excited about the opportunity to represent the museum externally and showcase our great education programs like the Aviation Learning Centers that provide a hands-on learning experience and bring the energy and excitement of flight to life.”

A lifelong devotee of aviation and history, Hayes was soloing an airplane by the time he was 16, before he got his driver’s license. As the newly named president and CEO, Hayes is committed to preserving and sharing the history of flight, providing educational opportunities to young people in desperately needed STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and striving to ensure the museum serves the community. He was the unanimous choice of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees is very pleased to be able to hire from within the organization.

“It’s an honor to be moving into the president and CEO role,” Hayes said in the releae. “Under Doug’s leadership, the museum has grown significantly in size and scope and is even closer to achieving its mission to become the foremost educational air and space museum in the world. Doug’s shoes are big ones to fill, but he’s leaving the museum in excellent shape, thereby making for a smooth transition. I will truly enjoy continuing to work with Doug through the end of the year as he remains a force for the continued success of the museum and a great resource for me. I am proud to be selected by the Board of Trustees and welcome the opportunity to lead the museum as we strive to provide aerospace explorers, from near and far, the experiences that can inspire their thinking, change their lives and shape the direction of the world around them.”

King was named president and CEO in November 2010. King joined the Museum of Flight from his post as president and CEO of the Saint Louis Science Center, the fourth largest science center in the country, where he served since 1995.

Hayes joined the museum as a volunteer in 2000, working to restore a World War II B-17 bomber. He’s been the museum’s chief financial officer since 2010 and in January of this year was named executive vice president.

“Doug’s leadership has been exemplary,” Anne Simpson, chairwoman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, said in the release. “No one knows the museum better or can tell the museum’s story better than Doug. His affection and dedication to the museum had a great deal to do with the success of our Inspiration Begins Here campaign. Doug has been a great champion of our education programs, strengthened our visibility and connections with government officials, and cemented a very positive relationship with the Smithsonian Institution, to name just a few of his accomplishments. We are very pleased that he will stay on as a consultant through the end of the year, assisting Matt and the Board of Trustees with a smooth transition and with various external relationships of the Museum, including continuing his active role with the current Access for All campaign and promoting the Museum’s innovative Aviation Learning Centers.”