The CEO position has been vacant since Joan Pennefather left the job and the troubled NAC in December. Board chairwoman and senior administrator Jean Therese Riley has performed the CEO duties in the interim.
Cripton, a Montreal native, previously was manager of the Canada Council’s now-defunct touring office, and was the programmer of 7,000 shows in the Canadian pavilion for Vancouver’s Expo ’86. He also has run his own theater company and managed a variety of international tours for companies such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Saidye Bronfman Yiddish Theater of Montreal and Edmonton’s Shumka Ukrainian Dancers.
Cripton is the sixth CEO of the 27-year-old NAC, and the fourth (including the recent acting CEO) in the last four years. The NAC faces serious financial problems brought about by a 30% budget reduction imposed on all federal cultural institutions. The NAC, created in 1969 as the country’s chief arts institution, will lose $ 6.5 million in funding by 1999; this year’s parliamentary allocation is $ 18 million.
In addition to the money problems, Cripton must make major staffing decisions , particularly whether or not to appoint an artistic director or assume that function himself.