CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Mary Deissler is leaving her post as the Charlotte Symphony’s president and CEO this summer after more than three years on the job, the organization announced in a press release on Tuesday.
The symphony said her tenure will end on Aug. 31, at which point she plans to return to Boston to work as a performing arts consultant. Deissler has served as the symphony’s leader since the spring of 2016, when she came to Charlotte after serving as president of the Chicago Academy for the Arts.
Her departure comes at a time when funding for the arts, as well as parks, will be before Mecklenburg County voters this fall in the form of a referendum for a sales tax increase. Money for the arts would go to the Arts and Science Council, which distributes funds to a number of groups, including the symphony and many other local organizations.
Under Deissler’s leadership, the orchestra has achieved record surpluses, fully repaid its debts and has established cash reserves, the symphony said in its announcement.
“Mary has been an absolute game-changer, and I’m not sure that the Charlotte Symphony would have survived financially if she had not taken the helm,” said Derek Raghavan, chairman of the symphony’s board of directors, in a statement. “She has made tough decisions to help us achieve financial stability and broaden our community footprint.”
Deissler also was responsible for strengthening its commitment to the symphony’s youth music education, as well as expanding summer offerings through its outdoor series.
“I’m proud of what we have collectively achieved at the CSO over the last three years and am excited to help other groups replicate these results,” Deissler said in a statement.
The symphony said it is working to find a replacement. Michelle Hamilton, the symphony’s vice president of development, will lead the management team on an interim basis.
Deissler will continue as a senior advisor to the Charlotte Symphony through Dec. 1.
Deissler’s compensation was more than $121,000 in the fiscal year ending in June 2017, according to the publicly available tax return for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Society Inc.