After twelve years with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, including the last eight as Managing Director, Rory Jeffes has today announced his departure from the organisation to become CEO of Opera Australia.
“This was a very difficult decision for me given this extraordinary organisation that is the SSO. But after a significant time leading the company, I see the role of Opera Australia CEO as a new challenge that I am excited to take on.
“There is a wonderful sense of unity of purpose in the SSO and a restless ambition for the future. I will miss greatly working with the musicians of the SSO – their artistry and dedication to the artform has always inspired me to pursue the very best for the orchestra – as well as the dedicated staff and Board who work so tirelessly behind the scenes,” said Jeffes.
Of the departure, SSO Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson said: “Rory is one of the finest arts administrators I have known, and I will miss working with him. Nevertheless, the Orchestra’s artistic vibrancy is deeply rooted and I’m confident will continue under a new chief executive.”
According to SSO Chairman Terrey Arcus, “Rory’s move to lead Opera Australia represents an exciting new challenge for him and it’s great for Australia that he will remain a leader of the arts community here. For the SSO, it creates the opportunity to view things afresh through the leadership of a new chief executive.
“The SSO has thrived under Rory’s leadership, for which he deserves our praise and thanks. He’s an exceptional communicator who is able to build strong relationships with his executive team, the musicians and our external stakeholders – our audience, our supporters, all levels of government, corporate partners plus private philanthropists.
“The Board is confident that the SSO has a strong executive team that can manage the transition to a new chief executive. The SSO is a thriving arts company with a dedicated audience who regularly tell us that the orchestra has never sounded better. The orchestra is going from strength to strength and while the search for a new chief executive begins, it is business as usual for the organisation.”
The Board of the SSO has appointed Heather Newill of AEM International, Arts Entertainment & Media Executive Search, to conduct a search in Australia and internationally for a new chief executive for the SSO.
Rory Jeffes will depart the SSO at the end of July.