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Verschoor new interim CEO at Adelaide Festival

Adelaide Festival

Windmill Theatre general manager and Adelaide City Councillor Sandy Verschoor has been appointed interim chief executive of the Adelaide Festival.

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The appointment follows the resignation of Karen Bryant, who revealed earlier this week that she was moving interstate for family reasons.

It also comes at a time of upheaval for the Festival, which is currently looking at an organisational restructure likely to result in job losses following a foreshadowed $1 million budget cut by the State Government.

Verschoor, who will oversee the 2017 Festival, is an experienced arts professional whose roles have included CEO of the Adelaide Fringe, associate director at Arts Projects Australia and general manager, City Culture and Community Services, at the Adelaide City Council. She has also previously worked in marketing and development at the Festival.

“I am thrilled to be returning to the Adelaide Festival as chief executive, taking the reins from Karen Bryant after an extremely successful 2016 event,” she said in a statement.

“The Festival holds a very special place for me, having worked on Barrie Kosky’s 1996 and Robyn Archer’s 1998 and 2000 events. I very much look forward to joining the team.”

Adelaide Festival Board chair Judy Potter said it was important that the organisation move quickly to fill the role as it headed into the “critical time” of locking down the 2017 Festival program.

The Festival also announced two new board appointments: former Santos managing director and CEO David Knox and The Perks Group managing director Mark Roderick.

Potter ­– who took up her role only last month, although she was appointed in 2015 – told InDaily earlier this week that the Festival was consulting with staff ahead of an organisational restructure, as it planned for the budget cut to come from operations, rather than programming.

The 2017 Festival will be delivered by two new co-artistic directors, Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy.

Healy said the pair welcomed the appointment of Verschoor, who had “a suite of skills and experiences that will be fundamental to the Festival’s future success”.

The board plans to begin the recruitment process for a new permanent chief executive in the first half of next year.

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