Marie-Josée Kravis to Succeed Leon Black as MoMA Chair
April 28, 2021
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, on Tuesday named Marie-Josée Kravis to succeed Leon Black as board chair. Kravis, a member of the board since 1994 and its president from 2005 to 2018, will take over July 1, when the embattled Black steps down. The announcement was made during yesterday’s board meeting.
“I know it’s a huge responsibility. I will try to live up to it,” Kravis told her colleagues, according to the New York Times.
Besides having served as the board’s president, Kravis has been at various times a member of the executive, finance, capital, and painting and sculpture committees, and of the international council. She and her husband, financier Henry Kravis, are noted collectors and have supported MoMA through promised gifts including works by Henri Matisse and Jasper Johns. MoMA additionally announced that Ronnie Heyman had been reelected a second term as president.
Black, the onetime CEO of private equity firm Apollo Asset Management, was elected board chair in 2018. He came under scrutiny last year when it was revealed that he had funneled millions of dollars to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide in prison in 2019. Though an independent investigation conducted at Black’s behest found no evidence of wrongdoing, it revealed that Black had paid Epstein $158 million—far more than expected—for financial advice, and that the payments had been issued between 2012 and 2017, after Epstein’s conviction on charges of soliciting prostitution from a minor.
Black in March departed as CEO of Apollo, several months earlier than planned. That same month, he told the board that he would not stand for reelection when his term ended. MoMA has confirmed that he will remain on the board, of which he has been a member since 1997. Activists have continued to call for Black’s removal from the board altogether. However, StrikeMoMA, a division of the International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF), has contended that “beyond any one board member, MoMA itself is the problem.”