New La Jolla Music Society CEO Ted DeDee bows out for health reasons

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Ted DeDee, who became the new CEO and president of La Jolla Music Society on April 1, will step down on June 30 for unspecified health reasons. His brief tenure with the company will make him the third CEO / President of the arts organization to leave this post since January 2018.

DeDee’s sudden decision to leave was announced in a statement released Friday afternoon by the company, which in April opened its $ 82 million Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in downtown La Jolla. DeDee came out of retirement in Wisconsin to settle here and run the company. He signed a three-year contract, with renewal options, for an undisclosed salary.

Speaking to the Union-Tribune later on Friday, DeDee spoke about his health.

“It took a bit of soul searching and figuring out what the best course of action would be,” said veteran arts administrator, whose September marriage to opera singer Pamela Hinchman was presided over by the judge. the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

“In the final analysis, the thing that has just been considered the top priority is my health and well-being. So that’s what helped me make my decision while on vacation.

DeDee did not disclose his condition. But he said he was only recently discovered and diagnosed, after moving to San Diego, and that he would not have taken on duty here had his condition been known sooner.

The results of his next round of tests will help him and his doctors decide on his best treatment, he said. DeDee is not yet sure whether he will stay in La Jolla after he resigns or returns to the Midwest.

In the statement released Friday, La Jolla Music Society Board Chairman Steve Baum said, “On behalf of the entire board and staff of LJMS, I would like to thank Ted DeDee for its services. Ted, with over 40 years of experience, has put in place a thoughtful transition that will give us ample time to seek out a new President / CEO. The success of The Conrad has created an exciting time for our organization and the role of President / CEO will be a great opportunity for new applicants.

DeDee told the Union-Tribune that he will not be involved in the final decision on who will succeed him in the non-profit arts group, although he may help with the interview process. He praised the company, its staff and its board of directors. And he described the first year of operation of his lavish new performing arts center as a major success, although rentals of the venue to outside arts groups have yet to be as strong as initially expected.

“I think things are going absolutely fantastic,” DeDee said.

“The reason I’m here is because I was so impressed with the commitment made by the board of (building) The Conrad, and the result that is here now on Fay Ave. in La Jolla. Musicians love it, audiences love it, and we’ve had some amazing performances here. This, to me, is a resounding success and (reflects) what happened to this organization as a result of this building being here and the commitment it took to make it a reality.

“So being a part of it has been a privilege. And I see nothing but continued success in the future.

DeDee acknowledged that being the third CEO / President in 24 months could paint a picture of a struggling organization. But he maintains that such an image is inaccurate.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “But the circumstances are different. This is a personal decision on my part, for personal reasons. … The only bright spot that nobody thinks about is that we have a really strong organization and staff here.

“And a person who leaves doesn’t make the organization bad or seem wary. But it’s more of a transition – a natural progression – from one person to another, and that should be natural in any organization … The strategic plan that we currently have underway will be the gift that my successor will have. , which I didn’t, a written plan that everyone here now – not just me, but the staff, board and our donors – will be involved to really help chart and chart the course for the 3 to the next 5 years.

“So even though I won’t be there to implement the path, I really feel part of it and I think this will be one of the things that I can feel great about and accomplished. – not that I do it myself, but that the organization, as a whole, is. It is the strong point and the history of the evolution of the company during the last year. And that’s to the credit of the organization and the staff who have been there from the start.

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