Press Release

World Monuments Fund Names Bénédicte de Montlaur Next CEO

July 30, 2019, New York, NY – World Monuments Fund (WMF) today named Bénédicte de Montlaur its next Chief Executive Officer. Ms. de Montlaur will become the fourth head of the world’s leading heritage conservation organization. Since 1965, WMF has partnered with local stakeholders to safeguard more than 600 sites worldwide, including Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the Forbidden City’s Qianlong Garden in Beijing, China, and Civil Rights sites across Alabama in the United States.

Ms. de Montlaur, whose mandate as Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States ends next month, has spent the last two decades working on three continents as a senior diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to directing French-American cultural, educational, and artistic relations in her current role, she held positions including Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of North Africa, Negotiator on Africa and the Middle East at the United Nations Security Council, and First Secretary at the French Embassy in Damascus, Syria.

She was elected this morning at a meeting of WMF’s Board of Trustees following an international search and will assume her new position on October 1.

“The Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Bénédicte de Montlaur as the fourth Chief Executive Officer of World Monuments Fund,” said Lorna Goodman, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Thanks to our hardworking search committee and input from a myriad of sources, we think we have found the perfect leader to shepherd World Monuments Fund into the future. She is an inspiring cultural visionary with a proven record of working in a global context to develop innovative and ambitious strategies and mobilize diverse stakeholders to bring them to life.”

“I am honored to be joining this vital organization and look forward to working with its talented staff, global affiliates and dedicated Board,” said Ms. de Montlaur. “World heritage treasures are increasingly threatened by urbanization, climate change and violent conflicts. And this challenges all of us to find new and innovative ways to appreciate and protect the value of the global heritage that unites us. I’m excited to help further WMF’s mission of working with local communities to sustain their heritage sites, advocate for endangered monuments and explore modern approaches that enable truly sustainable heritage solutions.”

Philippe Etienne, French Ambassador to the United States, said: “I’d like to congratulate Bénédicte de Montlaur for this important new position. While it’s sad to see her leave the Foreign Ministry, we are impressed by and grateful for all the achievements, development, and momentum that she brought to the Embassy’s Cultural Services over the past four years. We look forward to working with her in her new role.”

Currently, de Montlaur leads France’s largest international cultural advocacy network, directing a team of 90 people in 10 offices across the United States. During her tenure as Cultural Counselor, de Montlaur created and expanded numerous innovative programs including the Dual Language Fund to support bilingual education in US public schools; major cultural events including the Night of Philosophy and Ideas, which she expanded to five U.S. cities with 7,000 attendees in NYC alone; and Festival Albertine, with luminaries including Ta-Nehisi Coates, Gloria Steinem, Roxanne Gay and Joseph Stiglitz. She oversaw fundraising efforts to support a diverse range of cultural initiatives, working with the Embassy’s partner foundations to develop and expand relationships with major corporate, foundation, and private donors. She also secured funding for and launched major efforts to renovate the historic Whitney Mansion at 972 Fifth Avenue and supported the campaign to restore Notre Dame Cathedral.

In her new role, de Montlaur will be responsible for the strategic vision and leadership of WMF, which involves funding and oversight of preservation efforts for the world's greatest architectural and socially significant sites. The organization’s core program, the World Monuments Watch, uses cultural heritage conservation to increase community resilience and enhance social inclusion.

A native of France, de Montlaur studied sociology and Arabic at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and political science at Sciences Po. She is fluent in English, French, Arabic and Spanish. Most recently she launched a podcast, The Thing About France, featuring American cultural figures like David Sedaris, Adam Weinberg, Mickalene Thomas and Darren Walker exploring the relationship between France and the United States. De Montlaur serves on the Boards of The Menil Collection in Houston and Columbia University’s Maison Française.

Click here to download a hi-resolution portrait of Bénédicte de Montlaur.


About World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization devoted to saving the world’s treasured places. For more than 50 years, working in over 100 countries, its highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to the preservation of important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe. WMF’s nomination-based program, the World Monuments Watch, uses cultural heritage conservation to empower communities and improve human well-being. Through partnerships with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF seeks to inspire an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. Headquartered in New York City, the organization has offices and affiliates worldwide. Visit for more information, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Media Contacts

Hillary Prim, Director of Communications, World Monuments Fund,

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