David M. Rubenstein to Retire as Board Chairman of Kennedy Center

By Francisco Salazar

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced that board chairman David M. Rubenstein will retire from the board of trustees after 14 years, effective at the board’s Annual Meeting in January 2025.

Rubenstein is only the sixth chairman in the Kennedy Center’s history and was elected chairman in 2010 and re-elected each year since that time. He was originally appointed to the Kennedy Center board by President George W. Bush and was subsequently reappointed by Presidents Obama and Biden.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said, “Jill and I congratulate David on his retirement as chairman of the board of the Kennedy Center. David understands the power of the arts to bring people together and strengthen our democracy. His commitment to making the arts more accessible to more Americans—and to ensuring the Kennedy Center reflects the diversity that is our nation’s strength—will benefit our country for generations to come.”

Rubenstein noted, “Serving as Chair of the Kennedy Center has been the honor of a lifetime. The Center is an immensely important cultural and historical icon, entertaining, teaching, and inspiring our nation and the world. I have relished the opportunity to work beside incredible public servants and to see and enjoy the world’s greatest artists perform on the Center’s stages. One of the best decisions we made was hiring Deborah Rutter as president of the Center. Deborah made my job easy with her excellent judgment, leadership skills and vision, and commitment to excellence. In her good hands and with the support of the board and a new chair next year, the Center will continue to thrive and serve with distinction.”

Under his leadership, the Kennedy Center evolved into one of the most interactive arts and cultural destinations in the country. He oversaw the building of the REACH as well as the expansion of the Center’s year-round programming to include hip-hop and comedy.

He was also the largest contributor to the center with $111 million.

There will be a search committee to begin the search process, in coordination with the White House, for his successor.