English National Opera has appointed businessman Martyn Rose as its new chairman. He takes up the post on May 1, succeeding Peter Bazalgette, who has taken over as chair of Arts Council England.
Aside from his achievements as the head of a number of companies, Rose also has good political links having co-chaired both the National Citizen Service with Education Secretary Michael Gove, and the Get Britain Working campaign with Home Secretary Theresa May. As for the arts, he has served as Chairman of Ipswich-based DanceEast during a period of fundraising for new premises.
Sir Vernon Ellis, president of ENO said, ‘Martyn Rose has brought his entrepreneurial flair not only to the successful companies he has built but also to the major charities and arts organisations he has chaired.’
He must be hoping he can achieve something similar at ENO. While its programming remains adventurous and innovative, with new productions and works taking up a substantial part of its schedule, its annual report in January revealed problems ahead for the company. Audience figures for the 2011-12 season were down by 9 per cent (at 71 per cent capacity), and the company revealed losses of £2.2m. The company receives a core funding grant of £17m from Arts Council England.