You Don’t See This Every Day

Here’s something you don’t see every day: the CEO at one of the largest budget orchestras stepping down out of the blue with nothing more than a 184-word press release announcing the news. But that’s exactly what happened yesterday at the LA Phil where the organization announced Simon Woods was no longer the CEO.

The entire announcement was a scant 184 words:

On behalf of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Board Chair Jay Rasulo announced today that the Board has accepted Simon Woods’ resignation from his position as Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Office Chair, of the Association, effective immediately.

Simon Woods stated, “The Los Angeles Philharmonic is an extraordinary organization in every respect. It has been my complete honor to lead it for almost two years. However, after a great deal of reflection, I have concluded that my hopes and aspirations lie elsewhere, and as a result, I have tendered my resignation. I wish Gustavo, the musicians, the staff, the Board and everyone associated with this organization all the very best as it commences its second century.”

The Board very much appreciates the experience, commitment and passion that Mr. Woods has contributed to the Association since January, 2018, and wishes him all the best for the future.

In order to ensure continuity going forward, interim leadership will be led by Board Chair Jay Rasulo and Board Chair Designate Thomas L. Beckmen until a new CEO is named. Further information will be forthcoming.

You don’t have to be an insider to know that there’s certainly more going on but whether the LA Phil, or Woods, will offer up more info is something time will tell.

In the meantime, the only item of note during Wood’s brief tenure that worked its way into an article here was from 10/24/2018 via an interview he gave to the Los Angeles Times.

Better Late Than Never?

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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