Further fallout: 8 Minnesota Orchestra board members resign


Eight members of the Minnesota Orchestral Association Board resigned in the wake of President and CEO Michael Henson's announcement that he would step down on Aug. 31, according to media reports.

This is further fallout from the management's 16-month lockout of the players, the New York Times says. The lockout ended in January.

Henson stepped down after a turbulent year of contract negotiations, KARE 11 says. Save Our Symphony Minnesota said it is disappointed to learn of the board members' resignations, but it believes replacing Henson is necessary to bring the Minnesota Orchestra back "from the brink of disaster," according a press release.

“By encouraging a person to resign — one who had tirelessly helped us work toward sustainability — we send the wrong message to future applicants for that position,” wrote Teri E. Popp, an attorney in Wayzata and a member of the board's executive committee, in a letter to board chairman Gordon Sprenger, according to the Star Tribune.

Gordon Sprenger, the current chairman, also issued a statement: “I was disappointed to receive any resignations – as these directors have all been very dedicated members of the board. I hope we are able to get some to reconsider, but I respect their opinions and decisions," according to the New York Times.

More than 10 percent of the 77-member board resigned. The list includes Popp, James Lawrence, CEO of Rothschild North America in New York, Jack Farrell of Haskell Wines, attorney Gregory Pulles (also a member of the executive committee), John P. Whaley of Norwest Equity Partners, David Wichmann, chief financial officer of United Health, Timothy O’Brien of Pine River Capital and Anne W. Miller, a former WAMSO president, according to the Star Tribune.

Last week, former Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä said he’s negotiating with orchestra management about a possible return to his old job. Save Our Symphony Minnesota says Vänskä's return will help restore the orchestra's international reputation. He's in the Twin Cities this weekend helping the orchestra celebrate its win at the Grammys.

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