La Jolla Music Society big boss Ted DeDee resigned from his post on Tuesday citing coronavirus concerns.
His sudden departure comes barely 11 months after he became the third new CEO and president of the nonprofit arts organization to step down since the start of 2018. And it comes more than three months before DeDee did. planned to resign at the end of June because of unrelated health problems. He had signed a three-year contract with the company in March last year, for an undisclosed salary, with renewal options.
DeDee’s decision to step down earlier than planned was confirmed in a brief statement sent to the Union-Tribune on Tuesday. He had withdrawn from an interview scheduled for Monday, in which he was to discuss how the company was responding to the coronavirus. The pandemic last week prompted the company to cancel all of its remaining March concerts at its lavish new home, the $ 82 million Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, which opened last April.
The statement reads: “Due to the recently improved state of California and the CDC’s recommendations regarding COVID-19, La Jolla Music Society President Ted DeDee has brought forward his resignation date. Mr. DeDee will effectively resign immediately. He decided that postponing the resignation date earlier was the best decision for both LJMS and his long-term health. LJMS sincerely thanks Mr. DeDee for all his outstanding work and wishes him all the best.
DeDee, who plans to return soon to his home near Chicago – where his wife lives and teaches – was not available to discuss his decision.
However, in an interview with Union-Tribune on January 3, he said: “The top priority is my health and well-being. So that’s what helped me make my decision during the holidays (quit in June).
DeDee will be returning to Chicago by car, not by plane, according to Steve Baum, chairman of the board of the company.
“Ted doesn’t have the coronavirus. He doesn’t think so and we don’t think so,” Baum told the Union-Tribune Tuesday afternoon.
“He continued to worry about his health, which led to his resignation by June 31 (previously announced). But, given the effects of the coronavirus on our operation… we sat down with Ted and he was ready. to move until his date He was also concerned about his wife, who is in Chicago, and her need to be with her, given her own health issues.
“So we agreed that he could leave (early), and that – just to help us – he would waive the compensation that would have been due to him after the end of June.”
The appointment of DeDee’s predecessor, Susan T. Danis, was announced in June 2018. But she stepped down less than two months later, several weeks before she officially took office on October 1 of the year. last year. Danis was due to replace Kristen Lancino, who abruptly stepped down in January 2018, after serving for just two years as the leader of the company.
Despite the apparent revolving door of the 51-year-old company’s executives, Chairman of the Board Baum expressed confidence in the organization, which is currently finalizing a new five-year strategic growth plan.
“We have no debt. We don’t owe anything, ”Baum said. “We don’t have a mortgage, because the (center) is paid. And we have an endowment of $ 10 million that we are in the process of investing. So, we are in a very happy place.
The company began looking for a replacement for DeDee in January. According to Baum, the field has now been reduced to four candidates. One of them is based in Southern California; the other three are from out of state.
When asked to describe the criteria for the ideal CEO / President of the company, Baum laughed heartily,
“The ideal candidate should be very experienced, have a background and an ability to raise funds,” he replied. “They have to be well suited to Southern California and the San Diego area, and have the kind of personality that will be good for dealing with the different communities here, and with other arts organizations, our board of directors and our staff.
“Our requirements are different from what they were with Ted, because at the time we were looking for candidates before the center opened – and people with experience in opening a center. that Ted had. Now that the center is open, it (will be) good to have someone who knows the locations and operations of a facility like ours.