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Eli Broad Announces Retirement

Adam Nagourney and Adam Popescu report in the New York Times that the Los Angeles philanthropist, arts patron, and billionaire Eli Broad is retiring and stepping down from public life. Broad has been a major force across multiple realms of culture, politics, and business in LA for the past fifty years, and leaves as his legacy his own museum, the Broad, which opened in 2015; the adjacent Walt Disney Concert Hall, a project which he spearheaded; the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing; and the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a wing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that opened in 2008. Though he was diagnosed with prostate cancer a decade ago, he said his health was not a factor in his decision.

Having moved to LA from Detroit as a young entrepreneur fifty-two years ago, Broad has been a tireless advocate for charter schools and a heavy contributor to medical research, particularly in the area of stem cells. He made his $7.3 billion fortune in construction and insurance, but has given away $4 billion to his various causes. The endowment for the Broad Foundations, which operates the Broad, is $2.5 billion. In August 2016, he named Gerun Riley, a longtime aide, as executive director of his foundations, which oversee his investments in art, science, and educational causes. Additionally, he last month added four new members to the board of directors at the Broad, indicating he has been preparing to hand the reins over for some time. The MSU Broad at Michigan State University also continues to expand.

Reflecting on the development of culture and the arts in his city, the arts patron noted, “Los Angeles is now the contemporary art capital of the world . . . We have emerged as one of the four major cultural capitals of the world, together with London, New York and Paris.”