Drew McManus’s rankings of orchestral pay reveal that it cost the Minnesota Orchestra more than a million dollars to get rid of the manager that woefully mishandled its 15-month lockout.
Michael Henson arrived from England, where losses incurred by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which he managed, were quietly covered by the Arts Council. He replaced another English manager, Tony Woodcock.
Henson was ill-equipped to handle a full-blown US orchestra dispute and quickly lost the battle for public opinion by refusing to acknowledge the role that social media were starting to play.
When the board back down from the confrontation, they wanted Henson out. So did the music director. It cost the orchestra, Drew reckons, a settlement to Henson worth $738,805 – part of a total pay award of $1,048,686.
‘That is the single largest buy-out of a CEO I’ve ever seen in the field,’ says Drew.
Henson has not worked again in orchestra management.