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December 17   -   Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

Toronto Symphony stages year-end putsch

The Toronto Symphony has cleared out almost half its board, including the chairman Richard Philips and vice-chair Blake Goldring. In all eight board members have gone out of 19, and they include Sonia Baxendale, who acted as CEO after the abrupt departure of the high-spending Jeff Melanson. Philips was chair for six years. The new chair is Catherine Beck, who joined the board just months ago. She is a successful industrialist and the daughter of H. Thomas Beck, who chaired the TSO in 1981-83. The press release of the changes was issued at 1630 local on Friday in an attempt to bury the news. Local media are struggling with the story. Our information is that it’s an overdue reckoning for the reckless choice of the discredited Melanson and the huge bills he ran up. Beck knows the TSO inside out and is considered a smart appointment, a chair who will support CEO Gary Hanson in his efforts to get the Symphony back onto an even keel.

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