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Indianapolis Symphony launches CEO job search

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The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra wants a CEO with a medley of artistic vision and business finesse in order to reverse financial woes and reach out to new audiences, according to a job description posted online Wednesday.

According to the listing posted through human resources consultant FlashPoint, the organization is seeking someone who can “address a wide range of pivotal challenges to ensure the vitality and viability of the ISO for decades to come.”

The orchestra is searching internationally for someone to replace Simon Crookall, who abruptly resigned as CEO in February after seven years in the job.

Andrea Cranfill, principal of Indianapolis-based FlashPoint and an ISO board member, expected application reviews to take the next month or two with at least two or three rounds of interviews thereafter.

The search committee hopes to hire someone by the end of 2012.

Cranfill said the group is keeping an open mind about job candidates’ qualifications because there are a lot of areas the new CEO will need to address.

Those issues include a budget that finished fiscal 2011 about $1.7 million in the red. That followed a $2.7 million deficit in 2010 and $2.8 million in 2009. Interim CEO Jackie Groth, who is also the chief financial officer, said in early July she expected to finish fiscal 2012 with another deficit, albeit a smaller one.

The orchestra’s endowment, meanwhile, needs restoration. The fund finished 2011 with $89 million after reaching $128 million in 2007.

Cranfill said the ISO wants a CEO who can reach out to new demographics—in particular, young professionals and families with children—who will support the organization in the future.

The search committee is enticing prospective CEOs by pitching commonly marketed features such as the orchestra’s “dynamic young” music director, Krzysztof Urbanski, and the ensemble Time for Three.

The committee has not set a pay scale for the position, Cranfill said.

Crookall’s total compensation in the 2010-11 fiscal year was $240,136, a drop from the $269,576 he earned in 2008-09.

Orchestra CEO searches can be tricky, Cranfill said, because there aren’t many people with the necessary qualifications looking for work.

“There aren’t 5,000 symphony orchestras out there with jobs to fill,” she said. “It’s a pretty small industry.”

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