The Philadelphia Orchestra hopes to have a new president/CEO named by March 1. In the meantime, the organization will be led by two insiders after the current president steps down at the end of the calendar year.
Matthew Loden and Ryan Fleur will share administrative leadership, with the title of interim co-presidents, as the orchestra looks for a successor to Allison B. Vulgamore. Fleur and Loden are currently executive vice president for orchestra advancement and executive vice president for institutional advancement, respectively.
Vulgamore announced the Dec. 31 end to her tenure in June. The orchestra has retained search firm Isaacson Miller, said search committee chair Ralph W. Muller, a member of the orchestra board and CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
“We are looking nationally, internationally, not just in the symphonic world but evaluating people from other parts of the performing arts world, and measuring them against our criteria takes time,” said Muller. “We get to make one decision, and that person then makes a thousand decisions, so we have to get our decision right.”
A job description posted on the search firm’s website describes the orchestra’s bankruptcy of several years ago and says the search seeks an “inspired, strategically focused, and engaging president and CEO to lead this storied and distinguished symphony.” The next president “will inherit a vital organization that has done the hardest work, the necessary and at times painful adaptations to modern classical music reality. In this next decade, the orchestra has a profound ambition: to anchor music in Philadelphia, to take center stage, to stand for the wonder of the tradition and to make it essential to a resurgent city.”
The orchestra’s search committee expects to begin interviewing after the first of the year. The committee has nine musicians and board members, said board chairman Richard B. Worley, and will, in addition, have input at some point from music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, “not as a regular member of the search committee, but he’s going to be an important participant in the final decision and the recruitment. The relationship between the president and music director is probably the most important relationship at the orchestra,” Worley said.
The opening of the top job at the orchestra is not being seen as an opportunity to consider consolidation with another organization, such as the Kimmel Center, Muller said.
Depending on the timing of the arrival of a new president/CEO, Worley’s term may be extended beyond the currently planned conclusion in the fall of 2018.
Fleur and Loden both came to the orchestra in 2012. Fleur has overseen matters such as earned revenue, ticket sales, production, personnel, marketing, and electronic media distribution, while Loden’s portfolio has included contributed revenue, public relations and communications, and matters relating to the Academy of Music, which the orchestra owns (though it is operated by the Kimmel).
Among the criteria the orchestra is looking for in candidates are managers who know how to run a complex institution, have a passion for the music, are good fund-raisers, and can work well on behalf of the orchestra with other arts groups and in the “broader civic community,” said Muller.
“Around the country, every performing arts organization has to figure out, with the change in demographics and how people take in cultural forms, how to do classical work in a different way than before. Looking at how other people do that is going to be high on the list.”