A visionary CEO

October 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Deborah Borda is the man. This next couple of sentences embodies what a great CEO should hope to be.

"You won’t find Borda’s name on the Bowl’s Art Deco welcome sign. You won’t see her image emblazoned like a rock god on banners across the city. But many believe that the petite 61-year-old with the brassy New York-Boston accent is a big reason why the Phil is thriving at a time when some U.S. symphonies are struggling, a few of them for survival."

"Ticket sales for all the classical music programs that the Phil produces average 95% of available capacity at the 2,265-seat Walt Disney Concert Hall, compared with an average 63% capacity at its former home, the 3,200-seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, during the 1999-2000 season. (Borda officially took over the Phil on Jan. 1, 2000.)"

"Its endowment is estimated at $180 million, more than three times its size when Borda’s tenure began. Its $94-million budget is twice as large as a decade ago. And despite a recession-spurred drop-off in contributions, underwriting and government grants, the Phil experienced only a modest revenue dip during the budget year that ended Sept. 30, 2009, the most recent period for which audited figures are available."

She is the champion CEO of American orchestras. She has changed everything at the LAPA from their operating budget size, endowment, attendance, etc. They currently boast the highest base salary in the country, and have the most energetic, enthusiastic, and visible music director in the world.

Deborah is a miracle worker, and an example of what a CEO of an American orchestra should be. She never says no directly. She is a risk taker, though they are always thought out and calculated.

Everything the LAPA does now is covered by so many media outlets they are part of the LA culture. There are iPhone apps, Pod casts, and video games all concentrating on the LAPA. While most major orchestras are slashing budgets, salaries, and musicians the LAPA have been increasing. They are a founding orchestra of the American version of the highly esteemed Venezuelan music program El Sistema. They have the internationally recognized American composer John Adams as a new position called Creative Chair. There must be magic in the water in LA, cause they appear to be a Juggernaut of the orchestra world.

Deborah is a trail blazer in a field that needs a leader.




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