The Apollo Theater seeks an entrepreneurial and business-minded arts leader to serve as Chief Operating Officer, partnering with the President and Board of Directors in expanding the reach and impact of one of the most legendary and culturally influential institutions in American history.
DHR International has been exclusively retained to conduct a search for the Chief Operating Officer for Apollo Theater.
The Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. (“the Apollo”), a not-for-profit organization created in 1991, is dedicated to the preservation and development of the legendary Apollo Theater through the Apollo Experience of world-class live performances and education programs that:
- honor the influence and advance the contributions of African-American artists; and
- advance emerging creative voices across cultural and artistic media.
The Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc.’s vision is to expand the reach of the Apollo Experience to a worldwide audience.
The Apollo is seeking an entrepreneurial, business-minded arts leader who can work with a dynamic President and outstanding Board of Directors to lead the organization to its next level of success. The iconic Apollo Theater opened in 1934, and is one of the most legendary and influential cultural forces in America. Today, the Apollo is a nonprofit performing arts organization in New York City; a community anchor and economic driver for Harlem; a global touch point for African-American culture; and one of the world’s most well-known, and enduring performing arts institutions. Each year, the Apollo offers more than 100 performances, as well as meaningful education and community programs engaging the New York City and the greater metro area, welcoming national and international tourists, directly impacting more than 200,000 people.
The Theater is a cultural anchor in Harlem, one of the most economically and culturally diverse New York City neighborhoods and its performing arts programs are relevant and accessible for its diverse constituency. Programs are complemented with community engagement and education activities to further serve as a gateway to the arts. It is also one of the four largest African-American arts organizations in the country.
The Apollo is transforming from a historic venue to a world-class performing arts center.
- Committed to developing the next century of signature figures in arts and entertainment, with an emphasis on African-American creative expression.
- Leading presenter of today’s most prominent popular and cross-over figures in African-American and African Diaspora arts and entertainment.
The Apollo is also a much sought-after rental venue and its name and theater are an attractive option for many established and up-and-coming popular artists. The Apollo is engaged in extending its brand, capitalizing on the tourist popularity of its location, and broadening its commercial and artistic appeal. In addition, through an expansion plan, the Apollo will be the operator/manager of the cultural space in a real estate development project on 125th street. The cultural space will include 2 theaters and office space. The 99 and 199 seat theaters will allow the Apollo to expand its programming and rent the theaters to other community and cultural organizations.
The Apollo is embarking on an ambitious and extensive strategic plan that will ultimately result in the transformation of the facilities and the business model. The COO will play a prominent role in overseeing that plan, in overall business planning, financial management, and expanding on the revenue potential of the enterprise, while ensuring that the systems, staff and facilities are optimally serving those purposes. The COO will be a partner with the CEO, and members of Executive team and a trusted advisor to appropriate Board committees.
SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
The Chief Operating Officer supports the CEO in setting the strategic vision, maximizing the revenue potential of its brand, and fulfilling the potential of the Apollo’s history, location, and recognition as a leader in the African-American performing arts and entertainment. The COO leads and manages the activities of the organization in support of strategies, plans, policies, and objectives established in conjunction with the President/CEO and Executive Producer, and approved by the Board of Directors. The COO also serves as the chief financial officer, developing short- and long-term budgets, financial analysis, risk assessment, banking relationships, and relationships with developers and city agencies, particularly as they relate to renovation, construction and capital planning.
Working closely with the Executive Producer, the COO oversees and facilitates the successful fulfillment of all Apollo programming activities. In addition, the COO will be responsible for maximizing the income from non-arts special projects, new ventures, business development, brand development, licensing, new building ventures, co-ventures, and other entertainment vehicles. The COO has authority and responsibility for the effectiveness of the day-to-day operating activities of the Apollo Theater, including financial controls and planning, theater operations, building operations, union relations, human resources, and information technology. The COO will play a key role in the anticipated capital campaign, and will have first-line responsibility for the planned capital expansion project.
- Play a significant role in furthering the organization’s mission and vision; work with the CEO and the executive team set the strategic direction for the organization;
- Create the structure and processes to manage the organization’s current activities and its projected growth;
- Take day-to-day responsibility for the ongoing long term strategic planning process, and developing budgets and business scenarios for ongoing, short-term and long-range plans;
- Forecast and manage operating and capital activity against budget; evaluate business performance by analyzing and interpreting data and metrics;
- Provide input and support for operations of, and financial reporting for, fundraising, programming and marketing staff;
- Change/transition management: evaluate internal/external impact; set goals, timelines and deliverables; propose and establish effective staffing structure; facilitate internal and external messaging;
- Participate in expansion activities including investments and acquisitions; work with the CEO and the executive team to evaluate new partnerships and/or business ventures, including licensing for all media;
- Working with the President, Executive Producer and senior staff, strategize and manage the annual budget process; oversee the assembly of the annual operating budget for presentation to the Apollo Board;
- With the Senior Director of Finance, regularly assess the overall financial functions, ensuring that the accounting, bookkeeping, audit, budgeting, general ledger, bank reconciliations and taxes are organized and accurate;
- Forecast and manage facilities sales revenue budget and organize the department’s annual planning and goal setting;
- Long-term financial planning;
- Standardize and establish organization-wide policies, procedures, operation and communication protocols, that promote organization culture and vision;
- Set annual organization-wide planning calendar/timeline; analyze and identify organization priorities;
Operations, Productions, and Physical Plant
- Ensure the execution of operating policies consistent with institutional objectives; uphold standards;
- Work successfully with the Apollo’s senior management team in support of their departmental needs with respect to both use of the building and contractual/operational policies and procedures;
- Provide oversight and supervision of the renovation and expansion of the Apollo Theater. This includes the development and management of a plan to maintain the physical structure as well as the equipment, furniture, machines, etc. contained within the building. This responsibility also applies to any other physical structure or property that is, or may come under the control of, the Apollo Theater Foundation;
- Guide the creation of an ongoing maintenance plan for the building, including the determination of renovation priorities, and develop a capital replacement plan;
- Ensure that the commercial potential of the Apollo Theater, its brand, licensing and broad appeal is maximized;
- Work with the General Manager to insure the highest quality of customer service through training and oversight of the managers responsible for managing front of house, security, maintenance and other departments that affect the public;
- Ensure that organization activities and operations are carried out in compliance with local, state and federal regulations and laws governing business operations;
Human Resources (Staff & Contractors)
- Oversee the ongoing hiring, development, and evaluation of the appropriate staff within the COO’s purview;
- Manage the relationship with the external HR management firm; supervise and work with internal HR coordinator on all personnel-related matters;
- Work with the CEO in creating and sustaining a culture of accountability; lead employees to encourage maximum performance and dedication;
- Work with the CEO on key staff member succession planning;
- Manage and structure staff engagement and culture building;
- Manage and cultivate relationships/contracts with all unions as well as relevant promoters/presenters and industry associations;
- Manage and cultivate the Apollo’s professional services relationships, including concessionaire, legal counsel, and insurance broker, among others;
- Review all institutional contracts, insurance policies, and other operating-related agreements; coordinate with legal counsel to manage exposure;
Board of Directors
- Staff meetings of the Board of Directors and Board committees as requested by the President;
- Work closely with the Board’s Finance Committee and Real Estate Committee, ensuring timely and accurate reporting to the Board on all financial and real estate matters;
- Develop and install tools, procedures and controls to promote communication and adequate information flow within the organization;
- Working with the IT Director to identify, introduce and implement IT solutions to enhance organization operation efficiency and effectiveness;
- In partnership with the IT staff, analyze computer system needs for management of information and functional operations to determine scope and priorities of projects, and to discuss ongoing system capacity and equipment acquisitions.
KEY SELECTION CRITERIA:
The ideal candidate should have the following experience and qualifications:
- A track record of maximizing earned income potential of a nonprofit arts and cultural organization or related commercial arts business;
- Ten or more years of senior management experience, with at least five managing the operation of a complex performing arts center or related experience– ideally one that presents both live arts events and broadcasts or other electronic media;
- Complete understanding and proven ability overseeing complex performing arts production, including management of union production staff, front of house and back of house personnel, box office, concessions, gift shops and other generating activities.
- Capital projects management and theater renovation experience is a plus;
- Senior level planning capacity, particularly as relates to the development of integrated programmatic, financial and information systems required to support a multi-layered organization;
- Significant experience with financial management and budget development/oversight; significant experience in, or knowledge of, cash management and nonprofit accounting, including fund and grant accounting, compliance and reporting;
- Working knowledge of data analysis, performance and operation metrics;
- Experience creating constructive partnerships with a visible President and Board, and with an accomplished, dedicated and committed staff;
- Experience managing a fairly large and diverse staff; the ability to hire and retain talented people, to establish and uphold standards, set examples and to delegate;
- Ability to communicate effectively, in writing and verbally, with diverse audiences, internally and externally;
- Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists;
- An MBA or comparable advanced degree is desirable, or knowledge, skills and experience equivalent to an advanced degree in finance and/or management.
PERSONAL / PROFESSIONAL ATTRIBUTES:
- Entrepreneurial, business-minded and action-oriented;
- Genuinely committed to the Apollo’s mission, vision and values;
- An inspiring and dedicated leader/manager who can build consensus and effect change; the ability to project credibility, trust, enthusiasm, integrity, and motivate others in the same vein;
- A “doer” with a high energy level and a willingness to develop and execute a variety of activities ranging from the day-to-day to the broadly strategic;
- A creative problem solver who can present practical solutions with potential problems; design and explore systems and procedures to fit current and long-term needs; able to anticipate and act on events which may create opportunities;
- A person who is strategic, politically aware and financially astute; a consensus builder who can be both firm and decisive, and flexible;
- Collegial and collaborative, with an ability to share information easily; able to be tough-minded if required to ensure that goals are met;
- An outgoing and open personality, with tenacity, pragmatism, and patience; at home in an organization where mutual respect, collegiality and diversity are valued;
- Personal and professional integrity;
- A commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a personal philosophical alignment with the broader social and community mission of the Apollo.
- Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree or higher preferred.
- Competitive salary and a comprehensive benefit package will be offered to the successful candidate. Relocation assistance is also available.
The Apollo is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability or status as a U.S. veteran.
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