OPERA NEWS - Cressida Pollock, Chief Executive of English National Opera, to Depart Company at End of Season
From Development server
22 September 2017

Cressida Pollock, Chief Executive of English National Opera, to Depart Company at End of Season

CRESSIDA POLLOCK, a former management consultant who has served for two years as the chief executive of the hard-pressed English National Opera, has announced that she will leave her job at the end of this season, four months earlier than her contract stipulated. 

Pollock, who did not give a reason for her departure, said in a statement that she was “greatly saddened to leave this incredible institution." 

Pollock, 35, was appointed as ENO's chief executive in September 2015 after previously serving in an interim capacity with the company. A graduate of MIT's business school, her appointment came nearly a year after Arts Council England — which bestows the lion's share of ENO's government funding on behalf of England's Department of Culture, Media and Sport — curtailed its annual grants to the company by nearly £5 million and expressed significant concerns about its long-term financial health. Pollock's appointment came one month after longtime ENO artistic director John Berry resigned from the company, which in turn followed an exodus of top leadership, including the departure of ENO's chairman, Martyn Rose, who resigned after less than two years in the role, and ENO's former executive director, Henriette Götz. 

While Pollock's tenure has been notable for returning ENO to some measure of financial stability — the company was reinstated to Arts Council England’s national portfolio in June 2017 — it has often come with deep cost-cutting that has reshaped the enervated company's artistic agenda. In March 2016, she brokered a labor agreement with the company's choristers to cut their salaries by nearly a quarter and winnow its ranks by forty-four members; the company subsequently reduced the number of productions it would present during the 2016-17 season from eleven to eight in an effort to find a sustainable business model. Subsequently, in March of 2016, the company's music director, Mark Wigglesworth, resigned after less than a year on the job, saying that the company was “evolving into something I do not recognize." Earlier the same month, Pollock gave a contentious interview to The Independent, wherein she noted that she herself was not an "opera buff," and added, "But many of the people who make up our audience today are not 'opera buffs,' nor should they be." In April, the company appointed American theater director Daniel Kramer as its artistic director; some reports have indicated that tensions between Kramer and Pollock over the cost of new productions may have hastened her departure. 

"I will be greatly saddened to leave this incredible institution, which it has been a privilege to lead," Pollock said in a statement. "I am very proud of our achievements to date and am grateful to the extraordinary people I work alongside. When I arrived, the ENO was in crisis and the company's survival was in real doubt. I am delighted that we have brought stability and secured ENO's future." spacer 

More information can be found at English National Opera, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, and the Opera News Archives.

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