The international search is over and Florida Grand Opera (FGO) has announced the appointment of Susan T. Danis as the company’s new general director and CEO
An established arts advocate and leader with a proven track record of fiscal growth, Danis is scheduled to take the position as the company’s fourth general director on Oct. 9. She comes to FGO with more than 20 years of arts administration and particular expertise in the areas of marketing and fundraising.
“Susan is a phenomenal choice to lead FGO,” Victor H. Mendelson, president of FGO’s board of directors. “She has the unique combination of being a successful opera producer, manager and development expert. We are ecstatic to have Susan build on FGO’s history as Florida’s oldest performing arts company and infuse the company with great productions, ideas and enthusiasm.”
Since 1999, she has served as the executive director of Sarasota Opera, and has been instrumental in the company’s continued fiscal development. During her tenure, the company’s operating budget more than doubled, growing from $3.2 million to over $8 million. Beating fundraising goals at every turn, Danis increased individual giving by more than 200 percent in a seven-year period and raised more than $47 million for a capital campaign, part of which funded the $20 million renovation of the company’s historic theater.
She recently completed a six-year term as a member of the board of trustees of OPERA America, three of which she served as treasurer. What’s more, the selfproclaimed “opera geek” was a driving force behind Sarasota’s dynamic artistic offering, known internationally for initiatives like their American Classics Series and Verdi Cycle.
Anticipating the planned retirement of Robert M. Heuer, the company’s CEO of 27 years, and FGO’s board of directors embarked on an international search for his replacement, forming a search committee headed by William Hill, FGO’s vice president.
“We set out on a lengthy search to find the ideal candidate, someone who has both passion for opera and established business success in arts management,” Hill said. “We also sought a reliable leader and ambassador for the company with a true sense of community. Susan meets and exceeds all these requirements and is the perfect choice to lead Florida Grand Opera into a new chapter in its history.”
Florida Grand Opera is scheduled to begin its 2012-13 season on Nov. 17, with La bohème. Single tickets can be purchased through the FGO Box Office by calling 1-800-741-1010 or online at www.fgo.org