Randy Adams To Leave The SLSO In June

Yesterday, the SLSO announced that president and executive director Randy Adams was leaving the organization…


According to a press released issued by the SLSO, Randy Adams decided to leave his position so the organization could find someone capable of meeting the organization’s long term challenges.

“I feel challenges do remain in the next several years,” Adams said. “I also think it’s best for the organization to have a person who can commit to the next five or six years.”

The SLSO reported that Adams will remain in his position through June, 2007 but they will initiate plans to begin a search process immediately. According to SLSO board chair, Cynthia J. Brinkley, the search committee will be comprised of board members, staff members, Music Director David Robertson, and musicians.

When asked if any additional details for the search committee exist, SLSO Director of Communications Jeff Trammel said “According to our contract with our musicians, [the musicians] must be involved in the selection process of an executive director and a music director.” Otherwise, Jeff confirmed that additional details would be released as they develop and that the organization hopes to locate a successor by the time Randy Adams departs in June.

Adams’ departure adds another vacancy to the growing number of larger budget organizations looking for executive leadership.

At the beginning of February, 2007, Tony Woodcock left his position as the president of the Minnesota Orchestra for an executive position in academia, a move which caught many by surprise as Woodcock was well regarded by most of the organization’s stakeholders. Barely three weeks later and Adams’ departure from the SLSO places another high profile organization into the executive hunting grounds.

Along with Minnesota and St. Louis, the Seattle Symphony is still searching for an executive leader to replace Paul Meecham, who assumed the executive position in Baltimore. If prestige equals budget size in the minds of potential candidates, then out of the above organizations Minnesota has the advantage with Seattle and St. Louis running neck and neck.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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