English National Opera has announced that their next Interim Chief Executive will be Jenny Mollica.
She will take up the post in September following the departure of the current Chief Executive, Stuart Murphy, who announced he would be leaving in October last year.
Jenny will work closely alongside Annilese Miskimmon, ENO Artistic Director, Martyn Brabbins, ENO Music Director and the ENO Board.
Currently Director of Strategy and Engagement, Jenny has been leading the company’s transition and business planning work in the context of Arts Council England’s 2023-26 funding outcome.
It was announced earlier this month that Arts Council England has set a budget of up to £24 million for English National Opera for 2024 – 2026, based on them moving their main base out of London, whilst continuing to own, manage and put on work at the London Coliseum. This is in addition to the one year reprieve from a total funding cut that the Arts Council granted them in January.
Mollica joined the ENO in 2020 from the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama and is responsible for leading organisational strategy, policy and partnerships, and also for the ENO’s learning and participation programme, ENO Engage. Over the past three years Jenny has worked closely with the ENO’s Board and Executive on the organisation’s strategic management, business planning and governance.
Jenny has also led on the development of a range of new strategic partnerships in London and nationally. With a focus on expanding the ENO’s social impact, she has overseen the growth of the company’s ENO Engage programme, with more than 164,000 people across the country experiencing its programmes last year, either online or in-person. Highlights include creative health programme ENO Breathe, which received the RPS Impact Award in 2021 and is now available in over 85 NHS Trusts across the country. Jenny has also led on the creation of a number of new digital programmes at ENO, including as Co-Executive Producer on a new TV and broadcast project for Sky Kids and Sky Arts designed to introduce family audiences to opera for the first time.
Prior to joining the ENO, Jenny worked at the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama for just over a decade in a range of roles, including Director of Creative Learning, where she led on the development of a range of participatory arts programmes across music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film and literature.
ENO has also said that they are planning a public recruitment process for the permanent CEO role, and that this will start in the Autumn.
Jenny Mollica said in a statement: “I am delighted to be appointed as Interim Chief Executive of the ENO and look forward to working closely with Annilese, Martyn and the ENO Board as we navigate the various challenges that our organisation faces in the months ahead. The ENO’s future remains full of exciting possibilities and I am confident that as a company we will continue to evolve, adapt and thrive long into the future. The ENO has deep roots in creating daring, accessible and world class opera for everyone – pushing the boundaries of the art form, nurturing talent and widening access and engagement for audiences across the country. This remains core to our mission as we ready ourselves for a new chapter ahead. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Stuart for his truly inimitable leadership over an unprecedented five years, steering the organisation through the pandemic and our current process with Arts Council England with kindness, good humour and always with the organisation’s best interests at heart. He has been a positive force for change and innovation at ENO, and leaves with an inspiring legacy for us to build upon.”
Dr Harry Brunjes, Chair of the ENO and London Coliseum, said: “The Board were unanimous in their decision to appoint Jenny Mollica as Interim Chief Executive of the ENO. At this time of change for the ENO it is important that there is a sense of continuity for the whole organisation and we have been extremely impressed by her commitment and dedication to ensuring a bright and positive future for the ENO following Arts Council England’s 2023-26 funding decision. The Board and I look forward to working even more closely with her following her handover with Stuart in the upcoming months, and feel confident about the future for the organisation under her, Annilese and Martyn’s leadership.”
Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director, ENO, said: “I am excited to be working even more closely with Jenny. She has the backing of the entire Executive team and we are assured by her commitment to ensuring that the ENO will continue to produce world-class opera and learning work for audiences and participants around the country for years to come. Jenny has a deep understanding of the challenges facing artistic organisations today and I look forward to working with her as we secure ENO’s long-term future.”
Martyn Brabbins, Music Director, ENO said: “We are all enormously reassured that as we enter a period of change, Jenny will provide continuity for the whole organisation whilst remaining true to ENO’s ethos that high-quality music should be available to everyone. I am looking forward to working with her even more closely.”
ENO productions currently playing at the London Coliseum include Jeanine Tesori’s opera Blue, until 4 May 2023.
Playing from 27 April to 6 May is Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.