Classical 91.5

RPO to look for new president and CEO

Jun 8, 2017
Originally published on June 8, 2017 5:39 pm

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has started to look for a new President and CEO.

WXXI News has learned that Ralph Craviso, originally brought on as an interim president and CEO for the Orchestra in the fall of 2015, is working to transition out of that role and help the RPO find his replacement.

Craviso’s title changed last year, with the word ‘interim’ removed from his position. At that time, he told us the board had effectively stopped looking for a replacement, while he continued to work on a plan to shore up the orchestra’s financial stability.

But Craviso says that his work, which is essentially as a turnaround specialist, is effectively over, and now a new type of CEO is needed to move on to the next phase.

“The financial turnaround is essentially a success, we established balanced budgets, we have seen significant increases in our earned revenue as a result of stronger programming and more diverse programming, we’ve established very capable development department, we are reconnecting with our donors.”  Craviso also told WXXI News that, “the RPO is positioned to generate the kind of revenue that it needs to, in order to sustain stability in its fiscal matters; so I do believe that the financial turnaround is successful.”

Craviso says the RPO board has quietly put the word out it’s looking for a new CEO.

He says tentatively, the plan is that he might leave at the end of the summer, but he says he will stick around until his successor is named.

Craviso also held out the possibility he might stay on for a while even after a new CEO is chosen to help with the transition.  

Jules Smith is the chair of the RPO board. He says Craviso has done a "phenomenal"job, and credits him with helping get the orchestra in better financial shape.

“We are quickly approaching sustainability;  we have some more money that we need to raise, but our regular functioning, normal day to day functioning is working the way it’s supposed to. We’re raising lots more money than we ever have in the past," Smith told WXXI News.

Smith is hopeful they will be able to find a new CEO this year.