Jason Noyan, an executive director in J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s Indianapolis office, resigned from the Newfields Board of Trustees, becoming the sixth member of the board to step down in the the weeks before and after the art museum and gardens announced on Nov. 10 the unexpected departure of its CEO.
Newfields confirmed Friday that Noyan resigned. Noyan declined to comment when contacted by the IBJ.
The board of trustees, the managing board that holds fiduciary responsibility related to Newfields, decreased in membership from 30 to 24 but two recent additions bring the present roster to 26 members.
The new board members added during this week’s monthly board meeting are:
- Robert Scheele, a vice president at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management who has served on the Newfields board of governors since 2021. The board of governors is an associate board that functions as a pipeline for prospective board of trustees members.
- Leon Jackson, CEO of Diversity in Leadership Program Inc., a talent attraction and retention initiative.
When Newfields announced the departure of CEO Colette Pierce Burnette, the not-for-profit institution offered no explanation for her exit. A spokesperson told the IBJ that Newfields adheres to a policy of not discussing the details of internal employment matters.
Burnette has offered no comment on her departure.
The CEO of Newfields reports to the board of trustees. Darrianne Christian has served as board chair since May 2021 and is the first Black woman to hold the position.
Burnette became the first Black top executive at Newfields following a race-related controversy involving her predecessor, Charles Venable. In February 2021, Newfields issued a job posting referencing the need to maintain “the museum’s traditional, core, white art audience” while attempting to attract guests from all backgrounds. Venable resigned after more than 85 Newfields employees and affiliates signed a letter calling for his ouster.
Burnette began her 15-month tenure at Newfields in August 2022.
The string of board member resignations began Oct. 9 with Otto Frenzel IV, who served as vice chair.
Since Frenzel’s resignation, board members Gary Hirschberg, Adrienne Sims, Sherron Rogers, Sean Huddleston and Noyan stepped down.
Similar to Noyan, former board members Frenzel, Hirschberg, Sims, Rogers have made no public comments about their resignations.
Huddleston, president of Martin University, told the IBJ that Burnette was “a great catalyst” for connecting with Indianapolis residents when the institution needed someone in that role.
A Martin spokesperson said Huddleston resigned from the board in response to Burnette’s exit.
“Given the current climate, her departure represents an unfortunate setback to the progress our community has made,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
When reporting Sims’ resignation from the board, The Indianapolis Recorder published what the newspaper described as a resignation email sent by Sims, IU Health’s chief human resources officer since 2022.
“As a seasoned HR executive, I believe in the importance of strong HR practices, collaborative decision-making and adherence to proper governance procedures for the well-being of the organization,” Sims wrote. “Recent leadership decisions were not made in an inclusive and consultative manner, which has been disheartening.”
On Dec. 4, four members of the Newfields board of governors resigned. GangGang co-founder Malina Simone Bacon, Visit Indy executive Chris Gahl, New City Development Partners CEO Isaac Bamgbose and Wormser Legal principal attorney Barry Wormser stepped down from the 22-member board that helps Newfields shape its exhibitions and events.
Noyan was a founding member of the board of governors, which was established in 2018. He became a member of the board of trustees in 2021. The Indiana University alum grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.
Following Burnette’s departure, the Newfields board of trustees appointed Michael Kubacki, a former trustee and former chair of Lake City Bank, as interim president and CEO.