Richard Johnson Appointed Seattle Opera’s CFO

Seattle Opera’s Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale announced today that the company has appointed Richard Johnson as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  As CFO Johnson will manage all financial functions including accounting, investments, reporting, auditing, and management of payroll, as well as overseeing the Information Technology department.

Says General Director Speight Jenkins of Johnson’s appointment:  “I am thrilled to welcome Richard Johnson as our new Chief Financial Officer.  Rick’s extensive experience in the field includes exemplary work at Washington National Opera and the Smith Center.  I believe he will make a great addition to the Seattle Opera team.”

Before joining Seattle Opera, Johnson was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, NV.  Concurrently with developing financial systems, staffing, and policies for the new Center, Johnson arranged financing for the $470 million construction project.  The facility was completed on March 10, 2012, on budget and on time.

Johnson has worked for more than 30 years in executive financial and operational roles in the non-profit performing arts industry.  Prior to his engagement with The Smith Center, Johnson was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Washington National Opera in Washington, DC.  He also served for two years as Chief Financial Officer of the Boston Ballet.  He was Vice President of Finance and Administration at the Orange County Performing Arts Center from its opening in 1986 through 2003.

Johnson is also the co-founder and Chair of CFO/Arts, a national association of finance executives in the non-profit arts, including ballet, opera, orchestra, performing arts centers, museums, and theater companies.  CFO/Arts was founded in 1989 as a network to facilitate knowledge sharing, provide updates on developments in the field, and establish best practices.

Johnson received a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University and an MBA from the Management in the Arts program at the UCLA Graduate School of Management.  He continues to teach and lecture in non-profit financial management for arts administration programs at such schools as George Mason University, Boston University, University of California at Irvine, University of San Francisco, and the Stanford Business School.

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