CLEVELAND (September 13, 2011) – The Cleveland Museum of Art's Board of Trustees has elected R. Steven Kestner as its next Chairman at its September meeting. Kestner will serve as a key representative in the community for the museum as well as lead the board in governance and provide guidance to the museum's director and senior managers. Kestner joined the museum board in 2004 and has previously served on its executive committee as well as its development and finance committees. In 2010, he led the committee that conducted the international executive search that resulted in the hiring of David Franklin as the museum's ninth director.
Kestner is the Executive Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP, a law firm with 750 attorneys in 11 offices across the United States. In this role, Kestner serves as the firm's chief executive officer, responsible for oversight of the firm's operations and leadership of the firm's governing body. He serves on the board of directors of Preformed Line Products Company, a NASDAQ-listed company based in Mayfield Village, Ohio. His active community work in Northeast Ohio includes service as co-chair of the Philanthropist Society of the United Way of Greater Cleveland. He also recently ended a term on the board of Saint Ignatius High School, his high school alma mater. Kestner is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. He resides in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with his wife Denise. They have three grown sons.
"Our firm has been involved with the Cleveland Museum of Art since the museum opened in 1916, and I am truly honored to take on this important role at this point in the life of the museum," said Kestner. "This is a key time in the museum's history as it re-emerges on the national and international scene to confirm its leadership among America's greatest art museums. We have an energized board and a visionary new director. I look forward to working with all of them on the ambitious course we have charted for the museum."
Kestner succeeds Alfred M. Rankin, Jr., Chairman and CEO of NACCO Industries Inc., whose five-year term as President began in 2006 and has ended with the September board meeting.
"I speak on behalf of the entire museum board and staff when I say thank you to Al Rankin for his tremendous board leadership over the past five years," said Director David Franklin. "Al provided steady leadership and encouraged innovation during a time marked by both transformation and tumultuous external circumstances."
Rankin's contributions to the museum during his presidency included his prudent oversight of the endowment during a turbulent global economic downturn and stewardship of the museum's capital renovation and expansion as its first phase was completed and the second phase began. His input into the management of the museum's budget, endowment and capital project resulted in operating surpluses, a steady rebound of the endowment and a capital project on time and on budget. Rankin also encouraged the museum staff to seek out and define new revenue sources as well as new protocols and procedures that improved its operations and reaped economies and efficiencies. He showed great sensitivity to the museum's collection and its primacy, supporting and encouraging dialogues between board and staff about the collection's strengths and weaknesses and developing an updated collections policy that took special care in its guidance for collecting antiquities after the successful negotiations with Italy in 2008 on cultural patrimony issues.
Rankin will now serve in the new position of Advisory Chair along with Michael Horvitz, who served a five-year term as President from 1996 to 2001 and since 2001 has served as the museum's Chairman under the previous governance structure. In addition to this new position of Advisory Chair, the new governance structure approved by the board at its September meeting creates a new position of Chair Emeritus. Three former board Presidents will now serve in this position: James Bartlett, Michael Sherwin and Alton Whitehouse. These revisions to the museum's governance structure work in support of David Franklin's priorities and initiatives by focusing leadership in the Chairman position alongside strong and empowered board committees with valuable and contextual counsel provided by the Advisory Chairs. In addition, the creation of the Chair Emeritus position appropriately recognizes the contributions of past Presidents and ensures their continued engagement in the life of the museum.