The Toronto Symphony are at pains to point out that Jeff Melanson was not fired this morning. The president and CEO departed by mutual consent, with immediate effect.
Melanson’s turbulent management style and private life ensured him a stream of unsought media coverage. Although the TSO sought to depict Melanson as a vibrant young innovator, ghosts from his past and present kept intruding into the working day. The orchestra is making no comment whatsoever about the cause of his peremptory departure.
He leaves, however, a big hole. Melanson is the author of the orch’s new strategy. His successor will need to implement it, if workable.
The TSO Board of Directors has formed an executive search committee to identify a new CEO. In the meantime, board member Sonia Baxendale will act as interim CEO.
There is one obvious Canadian candidate with outstanding experience, but he won’t be free for at least a year.
Long wait. Big gap.
That said, there is a palpable sense of relief at the TSO at the restoration of calm normality. And Jeff Melanson will be off to rebuild his career, somewhere far away from classical music and potato chips.