Simon Crookall departing as symphony CEO

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Simon Crookall is stepping down as CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra after seven years, the symphony announced Thursday night.

Information about Crookall's plans wasn't immediately available. The symphony's board of directors appointed Jackie Groth, vice president of finance and strategic planning, as interim president and CEO, effective immediately. Groth joined the ISO in 2010 after seven years of leadership in finance and administration at Veolia Water.

In a press release, Crookall, 51, said his accomplishments included hiring Music Director Krzysztof Urbanski and launching a $100 million capital campaign. "I am ready  to move on to my next challenge," he said. "I wish the great musicians and staff of the ISO every success in the future.”

Crookall weathered controversy over his parting of ways with past music director Mario Venzago. The symphony also struggled with operating losses following the 2008 financial crisis. At the ISO's annual meeting in November, Crookall said that with cost-cutting and increased fundraising, the ISO should have a balanced budget by the conclusion of the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2014.

The ISO's expenses exceeded revenue by $1.7 million on a budget of $25.6 million for the 2011 fiscal year. Last year's deficit was $1 million less than the previous year's and $1.1 million less than than the deficit two years ago.
Board Chairman John Thornburgh praised Crookall for building the orchestra's finances and programming during his tenure. "Under Simon’s leadership, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has continued to fulfill our mission of inspiring, entertaining, educating and challenging through innovative programs and symphonic music performed at the highest artistic level," he said in the press release.

Concertmaster Zach De Pue said, “Thanks to Simon, the ISO staff and board, we are in a good place. Very few U.S. cities enjoy what we have here in Indianapolis. Our orchestra is superb, and Simon worked tirelessly to tell our story. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

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