#TBT Back To The Future In Columbus

The 10/24/17 edition of the Columbus Dispatch included an article by Ken Gordon that reports the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO) hired an executive director. What makes this hire a bit different is the CSO has been sharing an executive director with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) for close to a decade.

Long story short, after a series of financial and institutional retrenchments, the CSO board decided to outsource the organization’s operations to CAPA. Part of that deal included having CAPA’s ED serve as the CSO’s ED.

If this strikes you as the sort of arrangement with all kinds of potential for conflicts of interest, that just means you’re sane.

But before you think the mutually exclusive ED indicates a return to increased self-determination, it’s worth pointing out that CAPA’s board had a hand in selecting the new executive. Oh, and the new executive is CAPA’s former Development Director.

Today’s #TBT articles cover the CSO’s conversion to an outsourced governance model along with an additional post examining the Hartford Symphony’s decision to follow this tenuous model.

Details Surface In Columbus

Details Surface In Columbus

Hartford’s Elephant In The Room Settles In As Musicians Cave

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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