The English National Opera has announced that its CEO, Stuart Murphy, is going to step down in September 2023.
Stuart Murphy was previously a TV executive, working at companies including the BBC, Two Four Productions and Sky. He joined ENO in April 2018.
The ENO receives £12.4 million a year from the Arts Council, which is announcing its spending commitments for the next three years in a few days time.
Current productions in ENO’s new season at the Coliseum include Tosca, which got great reviews when it opened earlier this month; The Yeoman of the Guard which opens in November; and its Christmas family-friendly opera, It’s a Wonderful Life, which starts on 25 November 2022.
Dr. Harry Brunjes, Chair, the ENO and the London Coliseum, said in a press statement that: “Stuart has been an outstanding CEO during exceptional times. He has shown true leadership through Covid and in developing an ambitious strategy, creatively and corporately, and a diverse, talented company to ensure the ENO is in robust shape for future challenges. Stuart’s dynamism and energy meant that the company not only survived but thrived during the pandemic. His impact will be felt for years to come – whether through the young faces now enjoying the ENO’s opera for free at the London Coliseum, or the better representation that can be seen on stage, in the pit, backstage and front of house or through its efficient management. The expansion of ENO Breathe, our long covid social prescribing programme, to over 80 NHS trusts and our imaginative plans for engagement projects and performances around the country , beyond London, are all testament to Stuart’s strategic drive and setting the company on a strong road ahead. The Board and I applaud the tireless contribution he has made to the ENO and we thank him for agreeing to continue in his role beyond the length of his contract to ensure the smooth transition to a new CEO and as we continue to work with the Arts Council on the latest funding round.”
Stuart Murphy said: “It has been such a privilege to serve as the CEO of this incredible company. I always intended to leave at the end of my contract but the Board have asked that I stay on until September 23 to ensure a smooth transition to the next CEO which I am obviously more than happy to do. The people at ENO are inspiring, passionate and gifted. The work the ENO does is of a quality and resonance that is unrivalled and our flexibility as an organisation to weather everything is unsurpassed – never was this more self-evident than during the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns. I couldn’t be prouder of our submission to the Arts Council for our next period of NPO investment, and look forward to discussions with them on what the ENO can deliver for audiences and stay true to our founding purpose that opera is for everyone. . One important priority for me was to bring calm and stability to this historic organisation and I am pleased to be leaving a company at a time when its future has never looked more secure and exciting, with audiences at the heart of what we do. I am most proud of the way we have made the ENO far more open – through our increased representation (on stage and off) and ground-breaking Free Tickets for Under 21s; our engagement work reaching way beyond the opera world, partnering with the NHS, Sky, the BBC and other great arts organisations; and our investment in the London Coliseum as one of the world’s greatest theatres has continued apace, which audiences have loved. These are important as they fundamentally change access to this incredible art form. This has all happened against a backdrop of continuing to be financially stable and well governed. Announcing my intention to leave almost a year in advance will allow the Board enough time to find my successor and ensure the handover is smooth and straightforward. With Annilese Miskimmon now established as Artistic Director, alongside our Music Director Martyn Brabbins and a settled and experienced Management Team, the company is now in really good hands and I am confident our culture of openness and collaboration means the ENO’s future as a creative hub will continue to go from strength to strength. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our remarkable Chair, Dr Harry Brunjes – the most amazing colleague and now great friend – and the Board of Governors, alongside Annilese Miskimmon, Martyn Brabbins, the entire Management Team and the whole staff for making my time here at the ENO and the London Coliseum a true joy.”