After nearly two decades of transformative leadership, Newport Restoration Foundation executive director Pieter Roos has informed the board of directors he will be stepping down at the end of February, NRF Board Chair Roger Mandle announced today.

“During his tenure, Pieter’s leadership transformed the NRF from a sleepy preservation entity with few staff whose main focus was as a rental agency of historic residences, into a museum and preservation organization that has earned recognition and respect on a regional and national scale,” said Mandle.

“Given his many accomplishments and length of service, Pieter believes that now is the time for a fresh assignment and a new start,” Mandle added.  “We appreciate his willingness to stay on until the end February, and to continue as a consultant to the NRF after that.”

Noting that a tenure of 18 years is “rarely seen nowadays”, Roos said he was leaving to pursue “new challenges”, which he has already begun to explore.

“I will never in all my career work for a place that has meant as much to me as this one has,” said Roos.  “The dedication of everyone here and in the community is what has made my job so enjoyable and allowed us to do so much over the years.”

Mandle cited a long list of accomplishments by the NRF under Roos’ leadership.

“Pieter’s vision led to the transformation of Rough Point from a private home into one of the premier house museums in the region,” Mandle said.  “The Foundation also acquired Vernon House, a structure of national significance.  Finally, he led the re-birth of Queen Anne Square from an overlooked eyesore into a magnificent, vibrant public space, utilizing the design skills and artistry of Maya Lin.”

Other achievements during Roos’ tenure include:

  • Creating and presenting the Keeping History Above Water conference, the first national conference to study the impact of climate change on Historic Preservation.
  • Leading an advocacy campaign to create a position of Historic Planner for the City of Newport and reform the Historic District Zoning Ordinance. The campaign affirmed that Historic Preservation is a keystone for many city residents as well as an economic force for good within the city.
  • Rescuing and restoring three historic Aquidneck Island Properties, whose fate was uncertain without intervention:
    • Almy-Corey House, ca. 1798
    • Philip Stevens House, ca. 1745
    • Dayton-James House, ca. 1755
  • Establishing changing exhibit spaces at Rough Point, then creating high-end, annual exhibits and programming for that space and for the house and grounds.
  • Acquiring the Christopher Townsend House.
  • Developing a maintenance program that assured that NRF properties were in the best condition and would form an example for other preservationists to follow.

“It is an impressive record,” said Mandle.

“We have built something really great here,” said Roos.  “I am proud of it and I want to see it continue to shine.  I wish everyone well and look forward to watching the NRF continue to do great work.”

Beginning soon the Board will engage an Interim Executive Director, Mandle said.  Roos will also stay on in a consulting role after February 28th, he added.  The NRF will then work with a professional firm in the coming months to recruit, identify and select an individual who will lead our organization and continue to honor the legacy of Doris Duke.

Source: The above information was provided in a news release by the Newport Restoration Foundation.