Minnesota Orchestra Board Announces Administrative Appointments; Dianne Brennan to begin as Vice President of Advancement in June; Kevin Smith to serve as interim President and CEO beginning in September

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For Immediate Release

Minnesota Orchestra Board Announces
Administrative Appointments

Dianne Brennan to begin as Vice President of Advancement in June;

Kevin Smith to serve as interim President and CEO beginning in September

Minneapolis, MN (May 22, 2014)—The Minnesota Orchestra Board of Directors announced two key appointments to the Orchestra’s administrative management team today:  Dianne Brennan, formerly Director of Development for the Guthrie Theater, will join the Orchestra as its Vice President of Advancement; and Kevin Smith, formerly President of the Minnesota Opera, will serve as interim President and CEO, following Michael Henson’s August 31 departure until a permanent successor is identified.

“We are very pleased to welcome these experienced alumni of other Twin Cities’ performing arts organizations to the Orchestra,” said Board Chair Gordon Sprenger. “Kevin Smith commands the respect of our arts community, and he will provide stable, knowledgeable leadership while we undertake a thorough President Search process. Dianne Brennan comes to us with tremendous experience in the Twin Cities fundraising community and a great love of the arts, making her an ideal fit for the Orchestra.”

Said President and CEO Michael Henson, “Both Kevin and Dianne bring significant leadership, experience and enthusiasm to our team, which will be critical in ensuring the organization capitalizes on its current positive momentum.  I look forward to working with Kevin Smith over the course of the summer to ensure a seamless transition of leadership.”

Smith will begin work at the Orchestra in July, fulfilling a transitional role prior to assuming the interim President and CEO post on September 1; he will continue in that capacity until the top administrative position has been permanently filled.  A President Search Committee, co-led by board members Nicky Carpenter and Jack Eugster, has been formed to lead the search.

Kevin Smith led the Minnesota Opera as President and CEO for 25 years before his retirement in 2011.  During his tenure, that company expanded its season from three to five productions, doubled its attendance and grew its budget from $1.5 million to $9 million.  He was also instrumental in forging the Arts Partnership, a collaboration of arts organizations working to ensure optimal use of the Ordway Center.   Since leaving the Opera, Smith has worked as a consultant to the Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera and San Diego Opera, among others, and served as Campaign Director for the Arts Partnership, raising more than $79 million to renovate the Ordway and establish an endowment to support the Ordway’s principal tenants.   That campaign is slated for completion by July 2014.  

Said Smith,“I’m proud to have the opportunity to serve this great Orchestra during a time of growth and transition, and I look forward to working with constituents within the organization and throughout the community to build artistic energy and institutional momentum.”

Dianne Brennan, who will join the Orchestra in June, led Guthrie Theater fundraising as Director of Development from 1997 to 2013, working collaboratively with board and staff to increase annual fund contributions, raise capital funding of more than $90 million to build the new Guthrie and organize a drive to increase endowment funding.  Funds raised during her tenure totaled nearly $250 million.  Previously she was Director of Development for the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the University of Washington’s College of Engineering.  A Minnesota native, she also served as the Executive Director of the Pillsbury Foundation.  Over the past year, she has consulted on organizational development and fundraising with the Alley Theatre in Houston.

“I am delighted to have the privilege of working with the extraordinary Minnesota Orchestra board, staff and musicians,” she said.  “I look forward to both the challenge and our success.”

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