Billionaire industrialist David Koch, whose involvement with major U.S. science museums has drawn criticism from climate scientists and environmental activists, left the American Museum of Natural History's board last month after a 23-year tenure, reports The New York Times. A spokeswoman for the New York institution said Mr. Koch's last day as a trustee was December 9 and that his departure reflected the end of his term, not the controversy over his board service.
Prominent climate researchers and major environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club have campaigned for museums to ostracize Mr. Koch, contending that he has bankrolled efforts to misrepresent climate studies and downplay a human role in global warming. Mr. Koch has donated $23 million to the Museum of Natural History, and the institution named its dinosaur wing for him.
Cristyne Nicholas, a spokeswoman for Mr. Koch, said the campaign "did not factor into his decision" to leave the board. She said he sits on some 20 nonprofit boards nationwide and is cutting back on his memberships to focus on cancer research, a cause to which he has given hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years.