Is this what ENO needs – a blue-chip Valium man?

Is this what ENO needs – a blue-chip Valium man?


norman lebrecht

March 25, 2015

Troubled English National Opera has appointed a crisis-management head of communications from the corporate sector. His salary will amount to the cost of at least one production. He has been self-employed for the past year.

His cv reads:

Influential and experienced corporate communications director with an impressive track record spanning corporate communications, investor relations and sales and marketing. Expert at protecting reputation during intense periods of change and skilled at building strategic alliances to drive business profile and generate revenue in both UK and international markets. Highly experienced at leveraging City, media, government and employee audiences to develop blue chip consumer and business-to-business brands, including: Abbey National plc/Santander UK, British Airways, RSA and Deloitte.

Key areas of expertise:

Reputation management crisis communications

Regulatory, Government, Corporate Governance, CR and Public Affairs

Digital media and marketing

City and Investor Relations


Building and developing high performance communications functions


Can’t see the benefit, can you?


thomas coops

press release:

Thomas (Coops) joined the firm yesterday and takes overall responsibility for ENO’s media, external affairs and public affairs activities and internal communications. The appointment is one of several moves being led by ENO’s new Interim CEO Cressida Pollock to develop ENO and create new audiences for opera through English language performances which are enjoyable, accessible and affordable to everyone. 

Thomas brings over 20 years of experience in blue chip FTSE 100 corporate communications and investor relations roles.  He has held senior communications director roles at British Airways, Deloitte, RSA and Abbey National and was managing director of Weber Shandwick’s financial practice. 

Cressida Pollock said: “I’m really delighted that we have secured someone with the experience, insight and track record that Thomas offers.”

Thomas Coops commented: “It is an exciting time to join ENO and I look forward to playing my part in helping to deliver ENO’s ambitious plans”


  • Erwin Poelstra says:

    Well, he seems to like the colour blue. How about a blue-chip production of Bluebeard’s Castle?

  • Violachick says:

    Actually he looks like a pretty good bet to me, as does the interim lady they hired as the temporary Chief Exec. I realise that this will be an unpopular viewpoint on an arts blog, but the brutal truth is that there is an extremely good reason why people in high industry get paid far better than their equivalent numbers in the arts industry: they are invariably infinitely better educated in business disciplines and have a level of experience that couldn’t conceivably be matched if the roles were reversed.

    Perhaps now is finally the moment for some truly radical and much-needed changes to be piloted in the British arts industry. I’ve long thought that many arts organisations could be run with far more business creativity, productivity and profit if they just paid proper salaries and consequently got a higher calibre of strategic staff in place. The general assumption that reliance on the Arts Council provides greater artistic freedom than any alternative is not only an uninformed misnomer, but it consistently leaves the Arts Council’s “clients” dangerously exposed financially. It would be naive to think that this situation will change anytime soon, and so a new approach is vital.

    I’m delighted that someone on ENO’s board has had both the breadth of vision and the courage to push this through – I honestly can’t think of a better candidate organisation for leading the rest of the industry to a far more stable and creatively exciting future.

  • SC says:

    Tend to agree with Violachick above. I have plenty of experience of “non-profits” (charities, universities etc) as well as the commercial world, and the usual arts organisation staff of this kind tend to be duff. Often nice and intelligent people, enthusiastic about the product but either basically amateurs (gor into it through connections years ago and have never worked anywhere else) or, perhaps even worse, graduates of some kind of arts admin course who mistakenly believe they have therefore got qualifications and training propping up their misjudgements. Easy pickings for outside consultants. Let’s give this new style at the ENO a chance.