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Jim Hazel appointed to chair Adelaide Festival Centre Trust


Professional company director Jim Hazel will take over from prominent QC Michael Abbott as the new chair of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust, with the centre saying his appointment provides “continuity and confidence” at an important time.

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Hazel has been deputy chair of the trust for the past five years.

He has had a long career in banking and finance – including as chief general manager of Adelaide Bank in the 1990s – and is currently a director of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd and Coopers Brewery Ltd, deputy chair of Adelaide Football Club, chair of Ingenia Communities Group and pro chancellor of the University of South Australia.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier said that as deputy chair, Hazel had used his financial acumen to help guide the organisation through “some very testing times” after its venues were forced to temporarily close due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“His working experience in Asia will also underpin the Adelaide Festival Centre’s international position and reputation,” Gautier said.

“His appointment as chair provides continuity and confidence at an important moment for the AFCT.”

Jim Hazel.

Hazel described the appointment as “a great honour”.

“I look forward to working with Douglas and the team as we take AFCT through the current challenges and return to the business of bringing entertainment and arts to all,” he said in a statement.

“This will involve working with all our partners, especially in the arts sector, as we pursue the goals of the government Arts Plan.”

Gautier paid tribute to outgoing chair Michael Abbott and his passion for the arts, saying he had helped grow the Adelaide Festival Centre’s annual OzAsia Festival and secure support for the rebuilt Her Majesty’s Theatre, which was unveiled last week.

“This stunning – reborn – theatre is ready to serve the state for another century. His tireless work on this project has helped make our dream a reality.”

Also announced today is the appointment of State Theatre Company South Australia artistic director Mitchell Butel as a board member of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust.

No date has yet been set for the reopening of the Adelaide Festival Centre venues, which have been closed since March 17 as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Gautier told InDaily in April that the closure had left around 200 of its regular casual staff without work and was a huge hit to its annual operating revenue, around 60 to 70 per cent of which comes from “ticket sales, venue hire and commercial activities that depend on audiences being in the venue”.


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