Arts & Entertainment and Human Resources

Museum hires senior executive

July 31, 2017
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Robert Branch
Robert Branch

A local art museum has hired an executive with two decades of not-for-profit experience to serve as its new CFO and COO.

Dana Friis-Hansen, director and CEO of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, or GRAM, announced that Robert Branch has accepted the role of chief financial officer and chief operations officer.

He started the role on July 17.

“I’m thrilled that Bob has accepted the position of CFO/COO at the Grand Rapids Art Museum,” Friis-Hansen said. “A seasoned nonprofit executive, he is uniquely qualified to lead and strengthen all aspects of our financial and operational practices.”

Branch, a West Michigan native who has worked in Grand Rapids for most of his career, said he is “pleased” to work at GRAM, “a vital part of the downtown landscape and culture.”

“They bring a strong and talented board of directors and staff, an inspiring vision and forward-thinking strategic plan,” he said.

Branch’s background

Branch is a graduate of East Grand Rapids High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Davenport University and an MBA in accounting from Grand Valley State University.

He has 18 years of not-for-profit and 20 years of for-profit experience. Most recently, he served as CFO for the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

As a member of the YMCA’s senior leadership team, he was involved in strategic plan development and execution and served as a staff liaison to the finance committee, executive committee and board of directors.

During his time there, Branch was responsible for planning, implementing and overseeing all accounting, finance and IT activities, with additional management of HR and association facilities.

He also was responsible for bank financing, vendor relationships, insurance, legal, risk management and facility construction projects.

Branch assumes his post at GRAM as the museum kicks off its five-year strategic plan, Vision 2021.

As CFO and COO, he will play a significant role in supporting and leading the museum’s strategic initiatives.

Branch is a member of multiple professional and community organizations, including the Institute of Management Accountants, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce CFO Roundtable and Kiwanis Club.


The Grand Rapids Art Museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED Gold certification.

Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, the GRAM includes more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculptures and more than 3,000 works on paper.

The GRAM also has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft, reflecting the city’s history of manufacturing and design.

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