Diana Fortuna

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Diana Fortuna (born 1956) is an American businesswoman, who is the Chief Financial Officer and deputy general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. She spent about 15 years working in government budget positions and was the president of the Citizens Budget Commission in New York City from 1998 to February 2008.


Fortuna was raised in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from Harvard University and then received an MBA from Columbia Business School.[1] She is the daughter of Walter and Marilyn Fortuna.[2]

Government career[edit]

In the early 1980s, Fortuna began her career at New York City's Office of Management and Budget, where she eventually became Deputy Budget Director under Mayor Ed Koch. Beginning in 1990, she served in the New York State Office of Federal Affairs in Washington, D.C., where she analyzed federal policy issues. In 1993, she became a policy aide to the Administrator of the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration, and in 1995, she joined the White House Domestic Policy Council, becoming Associate Director and working on welfare, health, disability and national service issues.[1][3]

In 1998, Fortuna became the president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a non-profit watchdog group that monitors the finances and operations of New York City and New York State government.[3] While at the CBC, Fortuna generally advocated controlling New York State spending more and reducing New York State's public debt load.[4][5] She also supported Mayor Mike Bloomberg's plan to implement congestion pricing in New York City.[6] In analyzing New York's 2007–08 budget, Fortuna wrote, "Albany's ingrained political culture remains highly dysfunctional; the budget process is still too secretive and convoluted, and the state's fiscal practices are still far out of line with those of other states – leaving New Yorkers the nation's most heavily taxed people."[7]

Crain's New York Business called Fortuna "One of the most well-known advocates for fiscal responsibility in New York".[8] When Fortuna left the CBC, New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. stated, "Diana Fortuna has done an outstanding job as President of the Citizens Budget Commission over the past nine years. Under her leadership, the CBC has fulfilled a critical role as a non-partisan watchdog of both New York City and New York State finances. Throughout her tenure, she has been a strong advocate of fiscal reform and has offered constructive advice to City and State government at every level".[9]

In 2005 New York Common Cause honored Fortuna with the Making Peoples' Voices Heard Award for her work in helping to advance the movement for reform of New York State government.[10] Fortuna sits on the e-Treasury Pennsylvania Advisory Commission.[11]

Metropolitan Opera[edit]

Fortuna left the Citizen's Budget Commission in February 2008 to join the Metropolitan Opera as its budget director and soon became its Acting Chief Financial Officer.[12] Fortuna said of joining the Met, "As someone who is interested in the performing arts, it seemed like a great opportunity to enter that field with a perspective I know very well, which is budgeting."[8] Fortuna is now the Met's Chief Financial Officer.[13] She said, "I felt very drawn to what the Met is trying to do, which is to keep classical music alive and well and meaningful".[14]

In 2014, in addition to her CFO position, Fortuna was made deputy general manager.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Fortuna is married to former New York City Council member David Yassky, who ran for the office of New York City Comptroller in 2009. They live in Brooklyn Heights with their daughters Susan and Margaret.[2][16] In 2000, Fortuna introduced Diana Taylor to Mike Bloomberg (who was, at the time, considering running for mayor), seating her next to him at a Citizens Budget Commission luncheon, and the two soon began dating.

Fortuna has performed in amateur Gilbert and Sullivan productions, taking roles at Harvard[17] and Columbia (the Barnard G&S Society) and with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company (while living in Washington, DC) and other groups.[18] She has continued to sing in her free time, with such groups as Vertical Players Repertory and Brooklyn's Grace and Spiritus Chorale.[1][14][19]


  1. ^ a b c Finn, Robin. "Crunching Numbers to Keep Budgets Honest", New York Times, January 20, 2006
  2. ^ a b "Diana Fortuna, State Aide in Capital, Is Married to David Yassky, a Lawyer", New York Times, July 1, 1990
  3. ^ a b "Budget Commission Hires First Full-Time President", New York Times, November 20, 1998
  4. ^ NY Post article by Fortuna about New York State's public debt
  5. ^ Fortuna, Diana. "No" to bond act, Commentary in Gotham Gazette
  6. ^ Fortuna's letter to legislators, dated July 10, 2007
  7. ^ Fortuna, Diana. "NY Budget: Better Luck Next Year", New York Post, April 19, 2007
  8. ^ a b Michaud, Anne. "City budget advocate takes post at Met Opera", Crain's New York Business, January 24, 2008, accessed March 11, 2009
  9. ^ Thompson, William C., Jr. "Comptroller Thompson Commends the Work of Diana Fortuna", Office of the NY City Comptroller, January 24, 2008
  10. ^ "Common Cause/NY Honors Top New Yorkers", Common Cause/NY website, November 1, 2005
  11. ^ "Treasurer Wiessmann Releases Strategic Plan for the Future of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department", Euro Investor, December 10, 2008
  12. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth. "Fortuna Departing CBC", New York Daily News, January 24, 2008
  13. ^ "Who We Are", Metropolitan Opera website's Administration page
  14. ^ a b Ronalds-Hannon, Eliza. "Diana Fortuna", City&State, on February 6, 2012, accessed July 12, 1014. Quote: "I was always most interested in two things: government and music. For 25 years I did government, so for the last four years I've been doing music."
  15. ^ Maloney, Jennifer. "Metropolitan Opera Eliminates Administrative Jobs" Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2014
  16. ^ 2003 General Election Voter Guide, New York City Campaign Finance Board web site
  17. ^ 1978 Harvard Gilbert and Sullivan Society profiles
  18. ^ Varmus, Chris. "Whoa, Mama!", The Brooklyn Paper, May 12, 2007
  19. ^ Anderson Christopher. "Heights Resident Balances Major Budget Issues With Choral Singing", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 21, 2006

External links[edit]