Kenneth I. Chenault, the former CEO of the American Express Company, has stepped down as the chairman of the Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture and will be replaced by pharmaceutical leader N. Anthony Coles.

Coles will leave his position as vice chair of the council’s advancement committee. For the museum, Coles previously served as co-chair of the Living History Campaign, serving with Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and actor, director and producer LaTanya Richardson Jackson.

“Kenneth Chenault’s inspirational and passionate leadership has charted a path for the museum since its inception, leaving a legacy for future generations of leaders and museum visitors,” said Kevin Young, the Andrew W. Mellon director of the museum. “As a founding council member, Chenault played a crucial role in making the museum a reality and was integral to the success we see today. His philanthropic efforts helped raise more than $270 million to open the museum doors, allowing more than nine million visitors in person — with more online — to learn, discuss, and experience the lessons of the past.”

Coles has previously served as chair of the board of directors for Cerevel Therapeutics; a founding investor, CEO and board chair for Yumanity Therapeutics; led Onyx Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Amgen in 2013 and held leadership positions at NPS Pharmaceuticals and Vertex Pharmaceuticals as well as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck.

Presently, he is a board trustee of the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and sits on the board of the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Harvard Medical School Advisory Board.

Coles was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins, a medical degree from Duke University, and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University.

“During his tenure as a member of the advisory council, Anthony Coles has skillfully guided the museum’s fundraising efforts through many challenges over the past several years,” said Young. “With Coles at the helm, he has been responsible for securing several significant gifts to the museum’s Living History Campaign, which has raised an impressive $262 million.”

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