Peter B. Lewis Named Chairman of the Board

Peter B. Lewis Named Chairman of the Board

 

Former Chairman Peter Lawson-Johnston Named Honorary Chairman


On September 17, 1998, Peter B. Lewis, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of The Progressive Corporation, and a trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since 1993, was elected the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Peter Lawson-Johnston, President of the Board from 1969 to 1995, and Chairman since 1995, was elected to the newly created position of Honorary Chairman.


Ronald O. Perelman, President of the Board of Trustees since 1995, stated, "Peter Lewis has been an inspiration to all of us on the Board. His commitment, his vision, and his capacity for accomplishing his goals have made him a great and trusted friend. We welcome him as Chairman of the Board, and look forward to doing great things together."


Mr. Lewis has been an outstandingly generous supporter of the Guggenheim, committing a total of $50 million in gifts since being appointed to the Board of Trustees. His first gift of $10 million in 1995 funded the restoration of the theater in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue. The reconstruction of this landmark facility was completed in 1996, and the theater was subsequently named the Peter B. Lewis Theater. As part of that gift, an endowment was established for educational programs related to the use of the theater.


The $40 million commitment made by Mr. Lewis earlier this year will be used solely for the Foundation's endowment. The Lewis gift is the largest cash gift ever made to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.


"Throughout his life, Peter Lewis has exhibited a tremendous capacity for generosity and insightful stewardship," stated Mr. Lawson-Johnston. "I can think of no more fitting individual to succeed me as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and to share in the leadership of this great institution as it embraces the challenges of the next century."


Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, stated, "As the Guggenheim has grown to become one of the world's great cultural institutions, Peter Lewis's counsel, generosity, and leadership have been of incalculable value. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Peter is certain to provide the kind of inspired vision the Guggenheim will require for it to flourish in the twenty-first century."


"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Guggenheim as a Trustee these past several years," said Mr. Lewis. "In my new role as Chairman of the Board, I will continue to seek ways to honor the Guggenheim's past while setting the stage for what is sure to be a brilliant future."


Mr. Lewis, a member of the Executive and Finance Committee of the museum for the last two years, has played an increasingly important role guiding the direction of the Guggenheim. During the past year he has been the primary force behind the development of a new mission statement and improved governance structure for the museum to accommodate its expanding program and increasingly international profile.


Mr. Lewis is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of The Progressive Corporation, a Cleveland-based auto insurance company. He graduated from Princeton University in 1955 and joined Progressive as an underwriting trainee the same year. He assumed his current position as the head of the company in 1965. Under Mr. Lewis's guidance, Progressive has grown from 100 employees and $6 million in revenues in 1965 to a full-line auto insurance company of more than 14,000 employees with 1997 sales of more than $4.8 billion. Today, The Progressive Corporation has a market capitalization of about $7 billion. Progressive is the nation's largest writer of auto insurance through independent agents and is the fifth largest auto insurer nationally. The Progressive Corporation owns a contemporary art collection of more than 3,500 works.


Mr. Lewis is a philanthropist and arts patron with an extensive personal collection. His culture-oriented philanthropies include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Princeton University (all of which he serves as a trustee), the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. He has also endowed a scholarship for the Skowhegan School of Art.


Mr. Perelman is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, a diversified holding company with interests in consumer products, entertainment, and financial services. Among the companies controlled by MacAndrews & Forbes are Revlon, Inc., the world's most famous brand name in cosmetics and personal care products; Panavision, Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of high-precision film camera systems for the motion picture and television industries; Consolidated Cigar, the largest manufacturer and marketer of cigars sold in the United States; and California Federal Bank, the third largest thrift institution in the nation, with more than $30 billion in assets.


In addition to his extensive business interests, Mr. Perelman is President of the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. He is the founder of the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program, a center for leading-edge research into the causes and treatment of breast and ovarian cancer. He serves on the Boards of The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, The University of Pennsylvania, and the New York University Medical Center, among others. He is a member of the French Legion of Honor. Mr. Perelman holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Wharton School.


Peter Lawson-Johnston has been a trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundationsince 1964. His positions on the board of trustees have included Vice President, Business Administration (1965-1969), President (1969-1995), and Chairman (1995-1998). Mr. Lawson-Johnston attended The Lawrenceville School and graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1951. He is a trustee of The Lawrenceville School and served as president of the board of trustees there from 1990 to 1997. Mr. Lawson-Johnston is a recipient of the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1986) and The Lawrenceville Medal (1997).


Mr. Lawson-Johnston's numerous business affiliations include Chairman of Zemex Corporation (1975-present), Senior Partner, Guggenheim Brothers (1971-present), Chairman, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (1971-present), and Director, National Review, Inc. (1986-present).


The Honorary Chairman and the President of the Board, Mr. Lawson-Johnston and Mr. Perelman respectively, will have joint responsibility for the oversight and direction of the Foundation's expanded capital campaign, the Campaign for the Next Century.The Campaign was launched in 1994 with a lead commitment of $20 million from Mr. Perelman. The Guggenheim now has receipts and pledges in hand of $144 million.


September 4, 1998


FOR PRESS INFORMATION: Betsy Ennis

Director of Public Affairs

Guggenheim Museum

Telephone: 212/423-3840

Telefax: 212/423-3787

E-mail: bennis@guggenheim.org




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