Cultural group names chief

CHARLOTTE — The Arts & Science Council in Charlotte named Wachovia Bank executive Lee Keesler its president and CEO.

Keesler, who starts his new job in early October, succeeds Harriet Sanford, who resigned in February in the midst of the council’s annual fund drive.

A Charlotte native who has worked in the banking industry for 24 years, most recently as senior vice president and commercial banking executive for the Carolinas and Georgia regions of Wachovia Bank, Keesler served as the council’s board chair from 1998 to 1999, and chaired its annual fund drive in 1997.

The drive, which raised $10.4 million this year, was the biggest in the U.S. from 2001 to 2003 and the first in the U.S. to exceed $10 million.

With annual revenue of $16.5 million in fiscal 2003, the council was the second-largest local arts agency in the U.S., behind New York City.

In 2005, it plans to make nearly $12 million in grants to fund arts, science, history and cultural programs throughout Mecklenburg County.

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