LOUISVILLE, Ky. (NEWS RELEASE) -- In a major announcement Saturday, Louisville Orchestra CEO Robert Birman announced he is stepping down.
Louisville Orchestra Board President, Charles D. Maisch, announced Saturday morning that Orchestra CEO, Robert Birman will step down from his position effective February 1. Birman met with the Board's Executive Committee this week and proposed the change citing the organization’s resurgence following its re-organization and the benefit of identifying new leadership to propel the Orchestra’s future, unencumbered by its past.
"I'm proud of the Louisville Orchestra, its legacy, and the musicians who contribute so much to the vitality of our community. As we mark the half-way point of the Orchestra's 75th season and the start of the New Year, I decided with my family that this is a natural time for us to move forward as the Orchestra's concerts are flourishing once again, the planning for our new season is complete, and we anticipate the delivery of a multi-year labor agreement by the end of this quarter," said Birman. "Given our significant progress, this feels like the right time for me to step aside with confidence knowing that the entire focus now can be squarely on the Orchestra's future."
Under Birman's tenure, the Orchestra endured a year-long labor impasse in its effort to balance its costs with historical levels of income. In 2010, the Orchestra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure its persistent debt while it delivered a full season of public subscription concerts. The Orchestra successfully emerged from Bankruptcy in August 2011 and resumed concerts this past September under a 30-week contract with 55 salaried musicians. Birman was appointed COO of the Orchestra in October 2008, and later CEO in 2009.
"The Orchestra, the staff and its board are extremely saddened to see Rob go," said Maisch. "He has been a courageous partner with an extraordinary dedication and resolve. We are grateful that he endured the arduous process of rebalancing the Orchestra's cost model during the worst economic climate in our history, and remained to initiate the return of our concerts and educational programming. He is a fearless leader and will be dearly missed."
The Orchestra's concert season runs from September through April each year. The Board announced that it would appoint an Interim CEO until a full-fledged search could be coordinated.