Atlanta Symphony President Resigns

Mike Lawson • News • September 30, 2014

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President Stanley Romanstein steps down amid labor dispute

The Board of Directors of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has announced that Stanley Romanstein, Ph.D., has resigned as president and CEO of the orchestra.

Following Dr. Romanstein’s decision, the Executive Committee of the ASO Board appointed Terry Neal, a current ASO Board member and a retired executive of The Coca-Cola Company, to serve as president of the ASO on an interim basis. Mr. Neal will manage the day-to-day operations of the Orchestra until a permanent replacement can be found. Dr. Romanstein will be available to the organization through the end of October to assure a smooth transition.

“I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO’s musicians,” Dr. Romanstein said. The previous collective bargaining agreement between the ASO and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players Association expired September 6.

Karole Lloyd, chair of the Board of Directors of the Symphony, said, “The ASO Board would like to thank Stanley for all of his contributions to the Orchestra over the last four and half years. We appreciate the passion he has brought to advancing the mission of the ASO.”

Virginia Hepner, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, said that Dr. Romanstein’s resignation does not change the financial challenges facing the symphony nor signal any shift in the key issues being addressed in the collective bargaining agreement process.

“The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is a treasured part of our community,” Ms. Hepner said. “We want to make sure it can continue to flourish in the future. To do that, we need to find ways to broaden our base of patrons and supporters and address the deficits we’ve had for 12 consecutive years. All of us at the Arts Center are committed to working with the musicians to find a solution.”

Ms. Hepner urged the musicians to resume negotiations with the ASO negotiating team so that a new agreement can be reached and the Symphony’s 70th season can begin. Last week, the ASO announced that, without a new collective bargaining agreement in place, it had cancelled concerts from opening night, September 25, through November 8. If a new contract is ratified before November 8, the Symphony will begin performances as soon as possible.

Mr. Neal was elected to the ASO Board in 2013. As a long-time supporter and patron of the Symphony, he has been an active participant in ASO fundraising and marketing efforts. Since his election to the ASO Board, he has represented the ASO on Arts Center-wide development initiatives.

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