J. Barclay Collins elected chairman of Mystic Seaport trustees

Mystic — J. Barclay Collins II has been elected chairman of Mystic Seaport’s board of trustees, the maritime museum announced Friday.

A longtime executive in the energy industry, Collins recently retired as executive vice president and general counsel of the Hess Corp. Prior to joining Hess, he was vice president and general counsel of City Investing Co. and an attorney with Cravath, Swaine and Moore, the New York law firm.

The museum, in a press release, described Collins as a passionate advocate for health care, education and the arts.

He serves as chairman of the board of the United Hospital Fund of New York and is a member of the board of the New York Botanical Garden. An avid sailor, he also belongs to the New York Yacht Club and the Shelter Island Yacht Club.

Collins earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a doctorate in law from Columbia Law School. He has homes in New York, Connecticut and Florida, and joined Mystic Seaport in 2008.

“We are very excited to have Barclay assume leadership of the board,” Steve White, the museum’s president, said. “He brings a level of professional expertise, institutional knowledge and a passion for our mission that will help us succeed at developing new and exciting ways for the public to explore our collections and understand the importance of our shared maritime heritage.”

Collins succeeds Richard Vietor, who had been chairman since 2007.

“The museum is truly grateful for Richard’s leadership during one of the most challenging periods in the history of the institution,” White said. “He guided us deftly through a difficult economic environment to not only put Mystic Seaport on sound financial footing, but also to enable us to embark on some of the transformational initiatives critical to the future of Mystic Seaport, including the 38th voyage of the Charles W. Morgan and the construction of a new state-of-the-art exhibition building to transform the north end of our grounds.”

During Vietor’s tenure, the museum restructured its finances and operations to become a debt-free institution, the museum said. Vietor oversaw the restoration and launch of the whaleship Charles W. Morgan, the development of a new strategic plan for the institution and its collections, the initial work for the new exhibition hall, and the creation and success of seven America and the Sea Award Galas.

Four others also were named to the board at the museum’s annual meeting Friday. They were: Grant Cambridge of Pasadena, Calif., a senior vice president and portfolio manager for the Capital Group in Los Angeles; Sheila McCurdy of Middletown, R.I., who has an extensive background in sailing and is well-known in the U.S. racing and cruising communities; Cayre Michas of New York City and Stonington, who has long been involved with nonprofit and educational institutions and is a trustee and secretary of Learning Leaders Inc.; and Waring Partridge of New Haven, a former senior executive in the telecommunications industry and president of the Partridge Family Office.

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