Center for the Performing Arts seeking several high-level executives

September 21, 2016

The Center for the Performing Arts is searching to fill several high-level positions.

Since May, the Carmel not-for-profit has lost its CEO and president, vice president of marketing and communications, and vice president of finance. Leadership of the affiliated Great American Songbook Foundation, which is housed in the Palladium, also has seen recent turnover.Aerial view of Palladium, 2014

Tania Castroverde Moskalenko, formerly the CEO of both the center and the foundation, announced her resignation in August and left at the beginning of September for a job running the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Jeffrey McDermott, chairman of the board for the foundation, is serving as interim CEO and president. McDermott has worked for Indianapolis-based law firm Krieg DeVault LLP for more than 30 years and is the executive partner of the firm’s Carmel office.

McDermott said he doesn’t believe any of the resignations are related.

“As I came in, I wanted to look at that,” McDermott said. “I’ve become very satisfied that it’s not an institutional issue. People get new opportunities, and that’s not unusual.”

Susan Meyer, formerly the vice president of finance, left on July 15, and former vice president of marketing and communications Anne O’Brien’s last day was May 6.

Karen Kelsey, vice president of the foundation, also is retiring. Christopher Lewis, formerly the director of programs for the foundation, will replace Kelsey effective Jan. 1.

The board for the center has a meeting set for Wednesday and is expected to discuss how to proceed with the CEO search. The hiring process for the other senior positions is ongoing.

McDermott said the last time the board conducted a CEO search, a firm was hired to recruit candidates, and a 28-member committee was formed to evaluate applicants. Moskalenko joined the Center in 2012, replacing Steve Libman, who served as the first CEO and abruptly resigned in July 2011 after the center’s inaugural half-season.

This time around, McDermott expects a smaller committee and a more streamlined process because the center is now better known and the position has increased in desirability.

The Center for the Performing Arts is responsible for operating the city of Carmel’s $175 million arts campus, which is home to the 1,600-seat Palladium concert hall, the 500-seat Tarkington Theater and the 200-seat Studio Theater.

There are six resident companies at the center, including Actors Theatre of Indiana, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and Indiana Wind Symphony.

The center recently reported two consecutive seasons with a surplus, ending fiscal 2015 with $260,445 in proceeds on revenue of $8.71 million. The fiscal 2014 surplus was $176,930.

“I think this is a much different position we find ourselves in,” McDermott said. “We were fortunate to get Tania, but we had to go get her.”

Also, unlike before, he doesn’t expect the board to hire an outside firm to recruit applicants.

“I would expect and hope really that we’d have many local people interested, and I know there’s many that would be qualified,” McDermott said.

Moskalenko earned compensation of $226,591 in the 2013 fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, according to the most recently available federal tax information for not-for-profits.

A timeframe for hiring Moskalenko’s replacement hasn’t been determined, but McDermott estimates it could be six months.

Filling the other open positions is expected to move quicker.

The center hired Toronto-based Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates to conduct the search for the marketing role, and that process started before Moskalenko’s departure.

The firm is not assisting with the search for a vice president of finance, but McDermott said multiple qualified candidates have applied and officials are in the process of narrowing that list.

Both positions could be filled by the end of the year.

McDermott said they decided to fill the senior staff roles prior to hiring a new CEO so the new leader has a full staff to work with from the start.

“We thought, frankly, that was more attractive,” McDermott said.


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