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Des Moines Metro Opera eliminates executive director position


Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) has eliminated the position of executive director as it reviews its organizational structure.

The announcement that Thomas Smith would leave the Indianola-based nonprofit organization was made at DMMO’s board meeting last night and is effective immediately. Robert Montana, director of development, and Michael Egel, artistic administrator and education director, will take on expanded management roles.

“It’s been a process over the last several months of reviewing the organizational structure of the Des Moines Metro Opera and really thinking about whether the structure we’ve got with an executive director and artistic director (Robert Larsen), both co-equal at the helm of the organization, is really a viable structure,” said Wendy Carlson, board president and president and CEO of American Equity Investment Life Holding Co.

Smith became executive director in summer 2006 after working as director of finance at Cincinnati Opera.

Though Smith’s base salary was $86,942, according to DMMO’s fiscal year 2007 report, the change was not part of an effort to save money in an economic downturn, Carlson said. “We’re feeling quite good from a financial standpoint,” she said, with its annual fund-raising campaign going well and an endowment in place.

DMMO is focusing on its upcoming summer season and then the board will take up the issue of the organization’s long-term structure after that.

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