Minn Orchestra

March 29, 2014; WCCO News

The saga of the Minnesota Orchestra goes on as the board of trustees was decimated this past week with a wave of resignations. As NPQ readers may remember, the Minnesota Orchestra recently resolved a labor dispute with its musicians, but only after an extended lockout of the musicians who had resisted a drastic cut to their compensation as part of a re-organization. The CEO, Michael Henson, was the author of that plan and the man at the helm during the lockout, so it may be unsurprising that at least some of the musicians wanted him gone even after a contract was signed. Henson finally resigned last week, effective as the current season ends in August, but now some board members have followed suit.

“I may never know the real story of how the Board got from a strong vote of confidence for Henson on February 28th to showing him the door on March 20th,” John P. Whaley wrote in a letter to Gordon Sprenger, chairman of the board, as he resigned from the board last week along with seven other members of the 77-member board. The departures were apparently in response to whatever dynamics surrounded the resignation of embattled CEO Michael Henson.

Sprenger said the board resignations were disappointing. “These directors have all been very dedicated members of the board,” he said in a statement. “I hope we are able to get some to reconsider, but I respect their opinions and decisions.”—Ruth McCambridge