Betsy Smith

Staff Betsy Smith 2022 0062

President & CEO, Central Park Conservancy

Elizabeth “Betsy” Smith has served as President & CEO of the Central Park Conservancy since 2018. For the last six years, Ms. Smith’s top priorities have been to guide the Conservancy in it is efforts to preserve Central Park’s essential purpose as a retreat from the pressures of City life, and to elevate the profile of the Conservancy as the Park’s primary steward and an anchor institution critical to the health and vibrancy of the City.

With the Conservancy’s 40-year restoration of the Park largely complete, Ms. Smith is focused on addressing the impacts of massive use of Central Park while fostering a commitment to financial sustainability, operational excellence, engaged governance, and a strengthened relationship with the Conservancy’s primary partner, the City of New York. Under her leadership, the Conservancy released its first ever strategic plan, A Plan for the Stewardship of Central Park: 2020 – 2027, added professional capacity to address challenges and innovations needed to care for the Park, and will soon complete construction on its largest capital project to date, the Harlem Meer Center, a new, state-of-the art facility in the Park’s north end replacing the former Lasker Pool and Rink.

Before assuming the role of President & CEO, Ms. Smith served on the Conservancy’s Board of Trustees; was a former NYC Parks Assistant Commissioner in the Bloomberg Administration; and served as a Board Member of Friends of the High Line, the Open Space Institute, and as Vice Chair of New Yorkers for Parks. Prior to joining the Bloomberg Administration, Ms. Smith had a 25-year career in finance, starting in commercial banking at J.P. Morgan before transitioning to venture capital and private equity management at Prospect Group, Inc. and at the family offices of Harry F. Oppenheimer and the Rockefeller Financial Group. She later ran client services and finance at Sotheby’s.

Ms. Smith is currently Chair of the Board of Library of America, a not-for-profit publisher of significant American writing.

Visit Ms. Smith's LinkedIn profile.