Arts & Entertainment

Published on September 30th, 2014 |

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Romanstein resigns as Atlanta Symphony CEO to resolve labor dispute, renew season

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced Monday that Stanley Romanstein has resigned as its president and CEO, effective immediately, in a move to help facilitate a settlement of a lockout of musicians over a new

Stanley Romanstein

Stanley Romanstein

contract after the musicians’ previous one expired Sept. 6.

Following Romanstein’s decision, the executive committee of the orchestra’s board appointed Terry Neal, a current board member and a retired executive of the Coca-Cola Co., to serve as interim president. Neal will manage the day-to-day operations of the orchestra until a permanent replacement can be found.

Romanstein, who will be available to the organization through the end of October to assure a smooth transition, said in a statement: “I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO’s musicians.”

Karole Lloyd, the orchestra’s board chair, said in a statement, “The ASO board would like to thank Stanley for all of his contributions to the orchestra over the last four and half years. We appreciate the passion he has brought to advancing the mission of the ASO.”

Terry Neal

Terry Neal

Virginia Hepner, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, the orchestra’s parent organization, said Romanstein’s resignation does not change the financial challenges facing the orchestra nor signal any shift in the key issues being addressed in the collective bargaining agreement process.

“The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is a treasured part of our community,” Hepner said in a statement. “We want to make sure it can continue to flourish in the future.

“To do that, we need to find ways to broaden our base of patrons and supporters and address the deficits we’ve had for 12 consecutive years. All of us at the arts center are committed to working with the musicians to find a solution.”

Hepner urged the musicians to resume negotiations with the orchestra management’s negotiating team so a new agreement can be reached and the symphony’s 70th season can begin. Last week, the orchestra announced it had cancelled concerts from opening night, Sept. 25, through Nov. 8. If a new contract is ratified before Nov. 8, the orchestra will begin performances as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced last Saturday its management and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association have agreed to continue collective bargaining agreement discussions using a federal mediator.

Allison Beck, deputy director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, will serve as mediator. Beck also served as mediator during the Metropolitan Opera Musicians’ labor dispute in August.

Once an agreement between the orchestra’s management and musicians is reached, the season will be resumed as soon as possible.

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