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Indiana State Museum to name interim CEO

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Long plagued by a lack of stable leadership, the Indiana State Museum has landed local executive Thomas A. King as interim CEO.

The board of the museum's private foundation is expected to confirm King's appointment Thursday afternoon.

The museum has seen five CEOs come and go since 2000. The most recent, Barry Dressel, resigned abruptly in October after two years in the position.

Museum officials would not comment on King, but those who work with him in consulting and business development had already heard about the retired Eli Lilly and Co. executive's new job.

"He's well-respected. He's a bright guy. He knows a lot of people. He's probably a great choice," said Dave Sternberg, a fund-raising consultant who heard about King's appointment through professional circles.

King is the former president of the Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation. He retired in March of 2005 and started his own consulting firm, focused on philanthropy, economic development and marketing. He's also a former president of Walker Research and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

King's appointment comes at a crucial time for museum operations. In February, the museum will open an high-profile Abe Lincoln collection. In the long term, the museum needs to make up for declining state funding and boost attendance.

State funding for the museum, $5.96 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30, has fallen 21.5 percent since 2007. The marketing budget, meanwhile, is down 50 percent, to $205,000, over the same period.

The state museum has an odd organizational structure. Its CEO is hired by a foundation that supports the museum but oversees a staff that's employed by the Department of Natural Resources.

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  • Not a CEO problem
    The museum has had several "well-respected" and "bright" guys at the helm. The problem is the structure, not the CEO.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

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  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

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