Broadway landlord Philip J. Smith retires from Shubert

Philip J. Smith, chairman and CEO of Broadway’s biggest landlord, is retiring. Smith, 88, has been the head of the mighty Shubert Organization, which owns and operates 17 Broadway theaters and six off-Broadway venues, since 2008 and has been with the company for more than six decades. While Smith will take on an emeritus role, …

Philip J. Smith, chairman and CEO of Broadway’s biggest landlord, is retiring.

Smith, 88, has been the head of the mighty Shubert Organization, which owns and operates 17 Broadway theaters and six off-Broadway venues, since 2008 and has been with the company for more than six decades.

While Smith will take on an emeritus role, co-CEO Robert Wankel will ascend to the top spot.

“The retirement of Phil Smith is a pivotal moment not only in the history of the Shubert Organization but also in the history of the American theatre,” Wankel said. “I salute him as a giant of the American theatre and a most beloved member of the Shubert family.”

Smith added: “The decision to retire feels exactly right at this time in my life.

“The current COVID-19 crisis has pushed the business of Broadway into uncharted territory. It seems an appropriate time for me to step down and turn over my leadership responsibilities to my friend and colleague, Bob Wankel.”

The Shubert Organization’s current and upcoming productions — including “The Music Man” starring Hugh Jackman, “West Side Story,” “Company” and “Diana” — are temporarily shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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