By Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Donald Lassere is stepping down as president and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center after a lengthy stint highlighted by the center’s rebranding and the launch of humanitarian awards named for the boxing great, the center said Tuesday.

Lassere is leaving to become president and CEO of The Chicago History Museum in his hometown.

During his nearly nine-year tenure, he expanded the Ali Center’s educational programs, fostered partnerships and reinforced its role as a community gathering place. Under his leadership, the Louisville center’s focus has included social justice, global citizenship and gender equity.

In 2013, Lassere launched the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards, designed to encourage young people to become involved in social-justice issues.

Lassere said he was honored to lead the Ali Center and to have the opportunity to “further Muhammad’s relevancy and impact.”

“During his tenure, Donald’s leadership has been critical in advancing the center’s mission locally, domestically and globally,” said Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, the center’s co-founder and vice chair. “He navigated the center through some of its most difficult periods: the passing and memorial of my husband, the recent civil unrest and protests for social justice and the ongoing devastation of a global pandemic.”

The Ali Center said it will launch a national CEO search.

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