English National Opera chair Martyn Rose to quit after less than two years

Rose will step down on 15 February after an 'intense and challenging time', in which the ENO's funding from the Arts Council England suffered a major cut

Martyn Rose
Martyn Rose

Martyn Rose will step down from his role as chair of the English National Opera less than two years after taking up his post, as the charity tries to cope with a major cut to funding from the Arts Council England.

Rose, who co-founded and chaired the Big Society Network, took up his role at the ENO on 1 May 2013. Yesterday he announced his intention to step down from the role on 15 February.

The ENO’s funding from Arts Council England was £17.1m in 2012/13 and £17.2m in 2013/14, but fell to £12.4m in the current year. The opera house is being given transition funding of a total of £7.6m over three years, starting this year, in order to remodel its business and achieve greater financial sustainability.

Recent years have presented financial challenges for the charity – it had reserves of slightly more than £5m in the year to 31 March 2010, but these had dropped to £1.8m in March 2013, although in March 2014 they had risen to slightly more than £2m.

The accounts for the year to March 2014 said the ENO had achieved an unrestricted operating surplus of £208,000 for the year, compared with a £780,000 deficit the year before. A spokesman for the charity said it was in line to "present a balanced budget" for the financial year.

The spokesman said Rose had been chair "during quite an intense and challenging period of time", and that he was now keen to give time to other business interests.

Rose said: "My priority has been to help shape and prepare the organisation for the changes necessary to ensure that it can continue to flourish with reduced public funding and maintain its production and artistic excellence. I wish ENO every success for the future."

Rose will be succeeded by Harry Brunjes on an interim basis while a permanent successor is sought. Brunjes has been a trustee of the ENO since 2010 and is also on the board of Lancing College and the College of Medicine.

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