London's Royal Opera House Appoints New

Former Tate exec Alex Beard steps into venerable venue's top leadership post

LONDON — Alex Beard has been appointed CEO of the Royal Opera House, succeeding Tony Hall, who ankled to become Director-General of the BBC.

The £250,000 ($375,000) position is the key leadership and commercial post at the top of the U.K. high-cultural tree. The Royal Opera House is not only home to the year-round Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies — each of which has its own director (Kasper Holten and Kevin O’Hare, respectively) — but the 2,254-seat historic venue also regularly hosts both the BAFTAs and the Olivier awards.

Beard, 49, has been at Tate since 1994 and Deputy Director there since 2002. He set the business plan for the creation of London’s Tate Modern, the world’s most visited modern art gallery with around 4.7 million visitors per year.

Most recent full figures (for 2010-11) show the Royal Opera House earning £109.5 million ($165.4 million), £39 million ($60 million)  higher than the National Theater over the same period. That total is comprised of £37.7 million box office, £27.9 million subsidy from government funding body the Arts Council, £23.2 million in commercial trading and touring and £20.7 million in donations, legacies and sponsorships.

Hall, who spent more than a decade at ROH, was appointed to his new gig at the BBC late last year and will take the reins there April 2.

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