Santa Fe-bred arts and marketing corporation Meow Wolf announced today that it has appointed Jose Tolosa, formerly of mass media company ViacomCBS, to its CEO position.
The appointment follows former CEO Jim Ward stepping down last year, and will include current dual CEOs Ali Rubinstein and Carl Christensen returning to their prior roles within the company—chief creative officer and chief financial officer, respectively. The trio took over as interim CEOs, known collectively at Meow Wolf as the OCEO, in October 2019.
Tolosa, meanwhile, leaves behind his chief transformation officer job with ViacomCBS, a position he took in 2017 after serving as the company’s chief operating officer starting in 2015. Tolosa began with the company in 2008.
“This unique and pivotal moment in the company’s history is an opportunity to seek sustainable, thoughtful growth, expanding our exhibitions and engaging beyond the four walls,” Tolosa says in an emailed statement from Meow Wolf.
In the same statement, Rubinstein says: “Meow Wolf’s mission continues to be inspiring creativity through art, exploration and play so that imagination can change the world. 2021 proved this is possible and set the stage for what is to come. We are ready to create more and inspire more, and we believe Jose will guide this effort beautifully.”
What appointing a former mass media employee to its highest office means for Meow Wolf’s kooky arts collective image remains to be seen, and an agreement with the recently formed Meow Wolf Workers Collective has yet to be reached. Still, according to that same statement from the company, 2021′s opening of both Las Vegas, Nevada’s Omega Mart installation and Denver’s Convergence Station meant big numbers, with over 1.7 million visitors reportedly popping by the company’s three perma-installations and more than 600 employees hired—bringing employment numbers up to about 1,000, according to the company.
No word on whether any of those new hires were some of the 201 employees laid off at the outset of the pandemic.