With the resignation of the chairman who suspended him in a row over board over board authority, Sir Clive Gillinson, the long-serving executive and artistic director, appears to have emerged triumphant from a brief and ugly battle over who runs the hall.
But it’s not over yet.
When Ronald Perelman took over as chairman from Sandy Weill in February, he announced he wanted changes – more rock music and contemporary culture, less of the classical stuff. Sir Clive, and the rest of the board, ignored him. Perelman was a billionaire. His job was to pay up and shut up, as his predecessor had done.
But he didn’t. Discovering that the executive director had failed to get board approval for an initiative he had set up with board member Len Blavatnik, Perelman suspended Gillinson and demanded legal action. The board failed to back him. Last night, Perelman announced he was leaving (he and Warner’s Blavatnik are longterm antagonists). Sir Clive, America’s highest paid classical executive (earning $2,235,308 in 2013), appears to have won.
The battle, that is. The war is not over. No chief executive can ignore his board twice. Sir Clive, 70 next March, is on a warning. Perhaps on borrowed time.
MEDIA NOTE: The NY Times was out of the loop on this story. Wall Street Journal broke the original story and WQXR had Perelman’s resignation. The old Grey Lady is asleep on the cultural beat, waiting to be fed by PRs.