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Changes in Management

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This press release just in from ABT:


Lewis Ranieri, Chairman of the Board of Governing Trustees of American Ballet Theatre, today announced a number of management changes including the appointment of a Chief Financial Officer, a Director of Human Resources, the designation of a Chief Operating Officer, a reorganization of the office of the Executive Director and the appointment of a Special Advisor to the Chairman and President.

Mr. Ranieri explained that the purpose of the reorganization is to put in place the senior team, which will execute the agenda of American Ballet Theatre over the next several years. Mr. Ranieri became Chairman of the Board of Governing Trustees effective August 1, 2002, along with Robin Neustein who became President at that time.

"American Ballet Theatre is mobilizing for a great future. ABT's

mission is to create, present and preserve the excitement of classical dance on the world stage through performances and educational programming of the highest quality. To ensure ABT achieves these aspirations, we are reorganizing and adding resources -- placing the right people in the right roles by matching talent to challenges," said Mr. Ranieri.

Executive Director Wallace Chappell will shed his operating responsibilities to focus full time on strategic objectives in the newly created role of Director of Strategic Initiatives, reporting to the Chairman and President. Mr. Chappell will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Governing Trustees and as a member of the Executive Committee. He will also become Co-Chairman of the Board's Strategic Planning Committee. Of his new role, Mr. Chappell said, "I look forward to helping ABT realize its strategic mission and aggressive goals."

Elizabeth Harpel Kehler will step in as Executive Director and will assume Mr. Chappell's operating responsibilities. Ms. Kehler has been a member of ABT's Board of Governing Trustees since 1998 and is a member of the Executive Committee. Ms. Kehler holds an MBA from Columbia University

and a BA from Harvard. She previously worked in banking at Lehman Brothers and Bankers Trust Company. Ms. Kehler, who has been a Vice President of Ballet Theatre Foundation, has previously chaired ABT's Strategic Planning Committee, PR and Marketing Committee, the Family Day event, and currently serves as Secretary to the Board of Governing Trustees. Mr. Ranieri added, "We are delighted that ABT has the full-time service of such a talented executive as Liz Kehler."

Ms. Kehler said, "ABT has an outstanding board, a dedicated staff and some of the finest dancers in the world led by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. I look forward to working with all of them in my new role, and I especially look forward to ABT's fall 2002 season at City Center."

Mark Robinson will become the Chief Financial Officer for American Ballet Theatre. Mr. Robinson, a Certified Public Accountant, most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and was CEO and Executive Director of GMHC from 1992 through 1998.

Nancy Fleeter, currently General Manager for ABT, will assume the additional title of Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Fleeter, whom Mr. Robinson succeeds as CFO, joined ABT as Director of Finance in 2000 and was promoted to the position of General Manager in October 2001. She has previously held positions in finance and business at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Robinson will report to Ms. Fleeter.

Susan Gottlieb is joining American Ballet Theatre in the newly created position of Director of Human Resources. Ms. Gottlieb was most

recently the Senior HR Generalist for the Marsh & McLennan Family Relationship Management Program and has held HR and recruiting positions

at UBS Warburg, AG, and Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP. "With ABT's

growth and the increasing complexity of its operations, Ms. Gottlieb will fill an important role in our management eam," said Mr. Ranieri.

Susan Jaffe, who joined ABT in 1980 and retired as a Principal Dancer in June of this year, will serve in the newly created position of Advisor to the Chairman and the President. "Susan Jaffe's broad experience at the pinnacle of classical dance and her long association with ABT will make her a valuable resource as ABT moves forward in this exciting, challenging and rewarding period of our evolution," said Ms. Neustein.

Mr. Ranieri emphasized, "American Ballet Theatre is committed to its role as America/s national ballet company. We are enthusiastic about our preeminent role in presenting classical dance to the widest possible audience."

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What with mobilizing for a great future, executing agendas, and the appointment of a Director of Strategic Initiatives, ABT would seem to have joined the Department of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. It's obvious nobody at ABT will be free to follow his personal and particular telos as William Forsythe will be doing now. It's been a bad day for the English language in the world of ballet.

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BW. telos is actually a Greek word meaning the end or ultimate object -- something like that. It's not in my vocabulary, but I was quoting from the press release about William Forsythe leaving Ballett Frankfurt that was posted in the News & Events forum. It's an awful piece of pretentious gibberish, but as Alexandra has noted, perhaps it was translated from the German. Maybe by a Greek.

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Originally posted by Farrell Fan

What with mobilizing for a great future, executing agendas, and the appointment of a Director of Strategic Initiatives, ABT would seem to have joined the Department of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld.

Maybe Rummy will jump on board. Are they preparing for an invasion of Queens? Or just to identify ("smoke 'em out") and acquire more ballerinas from other companies? :)

I'm sure all this is just a matter of wording -- the Officer of Artistic Language being on holiday. I think it's not a bad idea for a ballet company to have a department of Human Resources (especially if it's of modest size) and a very good one to have a dancer involved in management.

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This really just sounds like restructuring to me which ABT desparately needed, since what ever they had in place wasn't working. Maybe this will give them better focus and make them more effective. They do not seem to have touched the artistic mechanics of the company. Should be interesting...

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I can remember a time when the Director of Human Resources was just head of personnel. Didn't have enough syllables to express the position's importance, I suppose.

Remarkable how the language of American business is invading all areas of our culture. It's important for bureaucrats to be an Executive This or Chief Fill-in-the-Blank Officer, and the term "aggressive" is invariably meant as a compliment. I also wonder what can be meant by "aggressive goals" – maybe Farrell Fan's Defense Department idea isn't too far off the mark. Perhaps ABT dancers will be deployed in the forthcoming Iraqi "regime change" we keep hearing about.

Please don't post any more official announcements for now. I'm afraid all of these tortured locutions are seriously impeding the evolution of my thought-work. :)

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I have heard from people who worked admin positions at ABT, that very little was accomplished often because there were not clear job designations. If someone needed something done, they didn't know who to go to.

And they NEVER have enough money coming in.

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