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Joanne T. Chou Appointed Chief Financial Officer at the Asian Art Museum

Chou will oversee the financial management of the museum and the accuracy and integrity of the museum’s financial systems.

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Joanne T. Chou Photo credit: Jennifer Yin

SAN FRANCISCO, April 8, 2014— The Asian Art Museum announced today the appointment of Joanne T. Chou as the museum’s new chief financial officer, a key leadership position overseeing the financial management of the museum and the accuracy and integrity of the museum’s financial systems. Reporting to the museum director, Chou will also be responsible for providing strategic oversight of administrative and operational functions of the museum, including information technology, facilities and security. She begins her tenure at the museum May 19, 2014.

A well-rounded leader with more than 20 years of experience in law, banking, international trade, corporate finance and nonprofit management, Chou has been serving since 2008 as chief financial officer for San Francisco-based Room to Read, an award-winning international nonprofit aimed at improving literacy and gender equality in Asia and Africa. While there, Chou oversaw the legal, finance and accounting departments for the rapidly expanding institution that grew its annual operating budget from $33 million (2009) to over $50 million (2013).

“Joanne’s skills and experience—including extensive stints in Asia—at growing institutions makes her an ideal fit as the museum’s new chief financial officer,” says museum director Dr. Jay Xu. “We welcome her strategic financial leadership and her passionate commitment to our mission as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2016 and plan for the next stages of the museum’s development.”

“I’m excited to join Dr. Xu, the museum’s trustees and commissioners, staff and supporters in ensuring that the museum continues to be a thriving institution, one that expands its offerings to a growing community interested in discovering Asian art and culture,” says Joanne T. Chou. “I’m eager to help successfully guide the museum through the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead.”

Before her work at Room to Read, Chou was managing director at real estate investment firm MacFarlane Partners in San Francisco, structuring nearly $6 billion in project and corporate debt financing. Chou also served as a principal at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco, where she developed new portfolio management products for the firm’s Cash Products, Global Index & Markets Group. Chou was also a principal of Structured Trade Finance at Bank of America, N.A. in Hong Kong; a vice president of U.S. Corporate Banking at the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, Ltd. in Los Angeles; and an attorney for Haight, Dickson, Brown & Bonesteel in Santa Monica, Calif.

Chou earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; a Juris Doctor from the School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles; and a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, and Bachelor of Arts, with Distinction, in History, from Stanford University. She is a member of the State Bar of California.

The Asian Art Museum is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life, while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking. Founded in 1966, the Asian Art Museum is a public/private partnership with an annual operating budget of $21.6 million. The museum’s home at San Francisco’s Civic Center is an architectural gem featuring a dynamic blend of beaux arts and modern design elements. The building is the result of a dramatic $170 million transformation of San Francisco’s former main public library in 2003 by noted Italian architect Gae Aulenti. For more information, visit

Press Release Types: Museum News