Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Jon C. Iwata as chair of its board of trustees. Iwata succeeds Elizabeth Ainslie, who will remain on the board as a trustee and a member of the executive committee. The Smithsonian’s board of regents also voted Oct. 21 to appoint Crystal English Sacca to the board of trustees at Cooper Hewitt, which includes 32 distinguished civic and business leaders dedicated to the continued growth of the museum.

“I so look forward to working with Jon in his new role as chair, building upon his work to date with museum branding and audience-building to position Cooper Hewitt as the platform for all things design. I extend a warm welcome to Crystal who brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge in design, global business and branding, technology and philanthropy,” said Caroline Baumann, director. “I would like to express enormous gratitude for Elizabeth’s leadership and applaud her work in helping to realize and kick off the new strategic plan.”

“I am honored to serve Cooper Hewitt, its leadership and my fellow trustees at a time when the museum’s role in the world of design is becoming ever more important,” said Iwata. “We are fortunate to have a talented and dedicated board that takes seriously its role in helping Cooper Hewitt achieve its ambitious goals.”

“I believe in the power of design to change the world—from climate solutions to accessibility and justice,” said Sacca. “Cooper Hewitt’s platform both celebrates and harnesses that power across our nation and beyond.”


Since joining the board of trustees in 2014, Iwata has served as a member of the Marketing & Media Committee and the Executive Committee. Iwata retired from IBM as its chief brand officer in 2018, capping a 34-year career at the company. He led IBM’s global marketing, communications and citizenship organization for nearly a decade. An inductee of the Marketing Hall of Fame and the B2B Hall of Fame, Iwata is currently an executive fellow at Yale School of Management and a trustee of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. A recognized leader in both the marketing and corporate communications professions, he was named a Brand Genius by AdWeek in 2017 and is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from The Seminar, an organization of Chief Communications Officers.


Sacca is a partner at Lowercase Capital, where she co-led early investments in companies including Uber and Blue Bottle. Today, her focus extends into bolstering democracy, promoting diversity in the venture capital community, championing the plight of women and girls around the world, reforming the criminal justice system and healing the planet. A globally-renowned advertising creative, Sacca won a number of Cannes Lions and was named one of AdWeek’s “Best Creatives You Don’t Know.” She is also a designer, artist and author of two bestselling books, The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert and The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All. Sacca lives with her family in Jackson, Wyoming.


Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum, education and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the historic, landmark Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 210,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BC to contemporary 3-D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world. Cooper Hewitt knits digital into experiences to enhance ideas, extend reach beyond museum walls and enable greater access, personalization, experimentation and connection. The museum is fully accessible.

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