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How Covent Garden is going about replacing its chief executive

The following chairman’s memo was circulated to staff this morning. It did not say whether the chairman himself has applied for the vacancy.

Dear colleagues
I wanted to update you on the process we are following to find and appoint the new Chief Executive of the ROH.


As you all know, Tony will be leaving to go to the BBC as Director General.  He will start his new job in early March.  He will continue to be our brilliant Chief Executive, leading the ROH and making all necessary decisions, until that time.


I have asked executive search firm, Saxton Bampfylde (, to work with me and the other Trustees to find his successor.  The advertisement will appear in The Sunday Times this Sunday, 16th December with a closing date for applications of 24th January 2013.  We want to do the best possible job, looking broadly, nationally and internationally, so we can identify the right candidate. This thorough process will take some time. I would hope we will be able to make an announcement of a successor by the end of March.


We have asked Sally O’Neill, Director of Finance, to act as interim Chief Executive for the period after Tony goes until our new CEO is in the ROH.  Sally has the complete confidence of the Board of Trustees and I know you will all support her in this role.

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  1. The memo suggests that the Chairman will be involved in the selection process “I have asked executive search firm, Saxton Bampfylde, to work with me and the other Trustees to find his successor”, which rather suggests that he is not intending to put himself forward.

    If he was a candidate himself, you would normally expect him to remove himself from the selection process and for the search for the next CEO to be led by the Deputy Chairman or another senior trustee. This could still be the case, but the fact that there is no mention of his removal from the search process may be significant

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