Opera Australia appoints new CEO

Craig Hassall, former head of English National Ballet, and Olympics guru, is set to return to Australia.

Opera Australia announced today that Craig Hassall would be its new CEO. The appointment comes at the end of a four-month international recruitment drive following the departure of long-standing Chief Executive, Adrian Collette, at the end of 2012.

“I am delighted to announce that Craig Hassall has accepted the position of CEO of Opera Australia, and will commence in the role in a few months”, said Ziggy Switkowski, Chairman of Opera Australia. “There was a strong field of applicants for this executive position, many with extensive opera knowledge and clear passion for both innovation and stability. Amongst these, Craig was the outstanding candidate. He fulfilled all the requirements we were looking for including leadership and an understanding of the international cultural environment in which Opera Australia is now operating. In addition to this, his history with the company represents a personal passion and connection which is invaluable.”

Australian born, Hassall comes with an enviable background in arts management across a wide range of artforms. He is well known to Opera Australia, having started his career with the company in the 1980’s and, after a short break, returning as Marketing Manager. He is currently the CEO for Raymond Gubbay Limited in London where he has been responsible for tours throughout Europe and Australia of popular classical concerts, operas and ballets.

At other times he has been Deputy General Manager at Sydney Theatre Company and General Manager at Bell Shakespeare. He managed three portfolios for the Sydney Olympics, which included producing The Festival of the Dreaming, Australia’s largest indigenous arts festival to date.

In early 2005 Craig became Managing Director of English National Ballet in London (the national touring ballet company), a role he fulfilled for seven years. During this time he also managed to be an Artistic Advisor to the hugely successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In a brief statement, Craig Hassall said, “After more than eight years away from Australia, it is with great anticipation and pride that I am able to come home and lead a national organisation for which I have such a respect and fondness. The prospect of working alongside Lyndon Terracini and the great team at Opera Australia is thrilling and I am especially looking forward to playing a part in the ongoing success of one of Australia’s leading arts organisations.”

Hassall will take up residence in Sydney ahead of his appointment, which begins later this year.

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Opera Australia appoints new CEO
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