Kennedy Center hunting for new leader

Search committee looks to fill Kaiser's shoes


The Kennedy Center has officially formed a search committee to fill the CEO role occupied for the past 12 years by Michael Kaiser, who will ankle at the end of his contract in December 2014.

Search will be co-chaired by Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein and fellow board member Anthony Welters. In 2010 Kaiser said he would not seek a renewal of his contract but would instead continue through 2017 as prexy of the center’s DeVos Institute for Arts Management. Kaiser created the training org, now supported by Betsy and Dick DeVos.

The Kennedy Center president is the only job in the world that is responsible for a major opera company, two orchestras and a ballet company as well as extensive theater, dance, and jazz seasons,” Rubenstein said.

The center’s activities have notably expanded under Kaiser’s energetic reign. Artistically, the facility has gone from little more than a road stop for touring productions to a producer and presenter of every art form (including recent Broadway transfers “Ragtime” and “Follies”). Its fundraising engine is also going great guns. In addition, the center operates one of the country’s largest arts education programs, reaching more than 11 million people each year.

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Meanwhile, the role of Kennedy Center topper has changed under Kaiser’s tenure. He now manages a $200 million budget and helps raise some $80 million each year. The position also oversees the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera. Kaiser also travels as an arts ambassador with the State Dept. and helps fledgling U.S. arts groups cope with economic stress.

A spokesman for the center said the announcement of the search committee reps an invitation for individuals interested in the position to contact the center.

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