Senior director of English National Opera to leave after just nine months in post

Executive director Henriette Götz will leave in February, with no reason given by either side; last week Martyn Rose said he would step down as chair in mid-February

ENO: chair and executive director leaving
ENO: chair and executive director leaving

One of the most senior directors of the English National Opera has announced that she will leave the charity after only nine months in the role, just days after its chair also said he was stepping down.

Last week, Martyn Rose – who also co-founded and chaired the Big Society Network – announced that he would step down as the ENO’s chair on 15 February, having spent less than two years in the role. A spokesman for the charity said at the time that Rose had been chair "during quite an intense and challenging period of time" and that he was keen to give time to other business interests.

A statement from the ENO today said that the executive director Henriette Götz, who joined the charity last May, has decided to step down from her post. She will leave at the end of February.

No explanation of Götz’s departure was given in the statement, which adds: "Henriette Götz and English National Opera have agreed that they shall not be making any further comment in respect of this matter."

A spokeswoman for the ENO told Third Sector she could not explain why Götz had tendered her resignation.

Third Sector invited the spokeswoman to comment on a story in The Times newspaper today that says there appears to be "a civil war" at the top of the charity, and that Götz has fallen out irrevocably with John Berry, the artistic director of the ENO.

The spokeswoman described the story as "purely gossip" and said: "We can’t get drawn into commenting on gossip."

The charity is coming to terms with substantial cuts to its funding. It received Arts Council England funding of £17.1m in 2012/13 and £17.2m 2013/14 – which was more than a third of its income – but this has been cut to £12.4m for the present financial year.

The opera house is also being given transition funding of £7.6m over three years, starting this year, in order to remodel its business and achieve greater financial sustainability.

Anthony Whitworth-Jones, one of the trustees of the ENO, will take over Götz’s role while a full-time replacement is sought, the statement said.

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