Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crookall steps down as ISO President and CEO

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Simon Crookall
  • Simon Crookall
Apparently Jimmy Fallon's takeover of Hilbert Circle Theatre was the last straw for Simon Crookall, who announced today that he has stepped down as Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra president and CEO. No, we kid; Crookall's departure has more to do with a desire to "move on to my next challenge," according to Crookall, as quoted in a press release issued after the close of business Thursday.

The press release points to the appointment of ISO music director Krzysztof Urbanski, the naming of Time for Three as ISO's first ensemble-in-residence and the establishment of new programming such as the young professional-friendly, mother-approved 'Happy Hour at the Symphony' as high points during Crookall's tenure.

The press release does not mention the departure of former ISO music director Mario Venzago, who said he was informed six weeks before the beginning of the 2009-2010 season that his contract would expire, at a time when promotional materials bearing Venzago's image had long before been distributed. In a 2009 open letter, Venzago characterized the short notice he was given of his departure as "unprecedented in the classical world."

2009 also saw the conclusion of negotiations over a three-year contract with ISO musicians; the agreement included a 12 percent pay cut on the part of musicians, as well as pay reductions of 15 percent for Crookall and 5 to 10 percent for ISO administrators. Notably, cuts in programming and work stoppages were avoided during negotiations; by contrast, Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians went on strike for six months in 2010 before reaching an agreement that involved pay cuts averaging 25 percent.

Jackie Groth, ISO vice president of finance and strategic planning, has been appointed at interim president and CEO; a search committee has begun work to select a permanent replacement for Crookall.

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