Big shakeout on ENO’s board

Big shakeout on ENO’s board


norman lebrecht

September 14, 2016

Three veterans out, three newbies in.

However, none of them is a heavy-hitter and it still doesn’t look as if the board is properly equipped to provide clear direction to the troubled company.

Here’s the press release:
coliseum eno


Today, 14 September 2016, ENO announces the appointment of three new trustees and changes to governance.

Patti White, Patty Dimond and Phil Edgar-Jones are joining the ENO Board of Trustees with immediate effect.  The newly appointed Trustees replace Glyn Barker, David Buchler, and David Harrell who are all stepping down from the ENO Board, following seven, nine and nine years of service respectively.

Separately, Nick Allan, currently a trustee, will become Deputy Chair as well as becoming Chair of the Finance Committee. Nick has been on the Board since 2008 and has had a long and distinguished career in the City.  Catherine May becomes the Senior Independent Director, having served on the Board since 2011. She has held a series of executive committee roles at SAB Miller, Centrica and Reed Elsevier.

Patti White has been President, since 2012, of the American Friends of ENO (AFENO), a US-based autonomous not-for-profit organisation that organises up to six events annually and contributes over £100,000 to ENO annual fundraising efforts. Patti has been involved with AFENO since 2004.

Outside of ENO, since 2006, Patti has sat on the Board and acted as Chair from 2013-2015 for the UK-based charity the UK Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This supports the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. and the UK Friends will sponsor the first exhibition to travel to London from the NMWA, opening at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2017.

Patti brings to the ENO Board a wealth of experience in strategic planning for fundraising, advocacy and volunteering.

Patty Dimond is an investor, advisor and mentor of early stage businesses and Co –Author: of “Driven to the Brink: Why Corporate Governance and Culture Matter”.

She has over 25 years international experience in consumer markets having worked with retail, financial services and brands, including Value Retail Management, Musgrave PLC, Mothercare Direct and Storehouse PLC.

She is a CFA, a member of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts and a Canadian Chartered Accountant.

Phil Edgar-Jones is Director of Sky Arts, the definitive destination for Arts and Culture on television. He joined Sky as Head of Entertainment in 2012, before taking over Sky Arts in 2014. During his time at Sky Arts, Phil has commissioned opera broadcasts from the Royal Opera House, ENO and Glyndebourne. Sky Arts is the first broadcaster to broadcast Wagner’s Ring Cycle from Bayreuth which was simulcast in the UK, Germany, Italy and Australia. Phil has also overseen the creation of Portrait and Landscape Artists of the Year alongside a myriad of other programmes spanning the spectrum of Arts genres from opera and ballet to rock and pop, the visual arts and design to fashion and film.

Commenting on these appointments, ENO Chair, Dr Harry Brunjes says, “I am pleased that we have significantly refreshed the ENO Board of trustees over the past year to rise to the challenge of implementing a new business model that will enable the Company to be more resilient and operate on a reduced public subsidy. I look forward to working closely with all three new trustees as we move forward with these plans.

“Patti White is one of ENO’s most generous supporters. Over the years she and her husband George have supported numerous ENO productions and initiatives. I’m delighted that she is joining ENO’s Board of Trustees at this exciting moment in ENO’s history. I know she will help us to build new relationships with donors, ensuring that we can continue on our mission as world-class musical storytellers – taking opera in English to as diverse an audience as possible.

“Phil Edgar-Jones is one of the leading personalities in arts broadcasting. His talents will be put to good use on the Artistic Committee we look to reshape ENO to face the challenges of the future, and to find new and innovative ways for our work to reach as many people across the UK as we can.

“Finally, I look forward to working with Patty Dimond who will bring her experience of luxury brands and investment to bear on the organisation. She will join the Finance Committee with immediate effect.”


  • Dame Anne Evans says:

    Here, at last, was a wonderful chance to bring real artistic clout to the ENO board, yet its chairman and his fellow board members have chosen to throw the opportunity away.
    In what way, I can’t help asking, will ‘experience of luxury brands’ help to get ENO back on its feet?

    Dame Anne Evans

  • Halldor says:

    Director of Sky Arts is a heavy-hitter by any standard – and if they’d been someone senior at BBC TV (whose recent record of arts broadcasting is weak by comparison) we’d all be applauding.

    • Jase says:

      indeed – the critics have been crying out for board members who are ‘properly equipped’ with experience in fundraising and audience development – looks like a step in the right direction. how does one define ‘heavy hitter’ anyway?

  • DESR says:

    Common sense: it needs a balanced board, ideally with some business heavyweights (but with RELEVANT or at least relatable experience) and artistic input, ideally from those who have had some sort of management experience alongside.

    Not easy to achieve.