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ENO chief executive Cressida Pollock to step down

Cressida Pollock ENO chief executive Cressida Pollock
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Cressida Pollock, the English National Opera chief executive appointed to turn around the finances of the troubled company, is to step down next year.

Pollock, a former management consultant at McKinsey, joined the embattled ENO in March 2015, a month after the company had been removed from Arts Council England’s national portfolio and placed in special measures, on account of its financial instability.

Since then, Pollock has steered ENO into calmer waters, overseeing a 32% increase in box office takings in 2015/16, driven in part by the success of its semi-staged musicals, and its re-entry into the portfolio as a full NPO this year.

Announcing her departure, Pollock said she was “greatly saddened” to be leaving, but “delighted that we have brought stability and secured ENO’s future”.

However, Pollock’s tenure will be characterised by a series of controversies, including a dispute over ENO’s chorus, whose pay she proposed cutting by 25% and making a number of members redundant.

Strike action was narrowly avoided in March 2016, after union Equity came to an agreement with ENO.

She will leave in June 2018, at the end of ENO’s current season.

A statement from ENO chairman Harry Brunjes said Pollock had “turned around our fortunes to deliver financial security, while keeping us on a solid creative footing”.

“Cressida has led the ENO back into the Arts Council England’s national portfolio and brought together a leadership team who the board are confident can continue to help ENO thrive and develop.

“On behalf of the board it has been a pleasure to observe her courage and positivity in the face of ENO’s immense challenges. We will be sorry to lose her energy and determination to achieve success when she steps down next June,” Brunjes added.

ENO will begin recruiting for a replacement chief executive later this month.

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