CAPA Names Chad Whittington Next President and CEO
Following an eight-month, national search, the Board of Trustees for the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) today announced the appointment of Chad Whittington to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Whittington has been serving as interim president and CEO since the passing of former president William B. Conner, Jr. in October 2016. The search was handled by Connecticut-based AMS Planning and Research, a highly regarded arts consulting firm that has worked with CAPA for several years.
Effective immediately, Whittington will assume full responsibility of CAPA, a $28 million, non-profit, performing arts organization that anchors the Columbus arts community and provides management and administrative services to seven arts and culture organizations-CATCO, Columbus Symphony, Drexel Theatre, Franklin Park Conservatory, Lincoln Theatre Association, McCoy Center for the Arts, and Opera Columbus.
"Chad knows CAPA inside and out, and has more than proven his commitment to its mission and success, especially in the past three years when it needed it most," stated Richard Helmreich, chair of the CAPA Board of Trustees. "Chad has the leadership skills and vision necessary to continue CAPA's momentum as a cutting-edge, agile performing arts organization with a passion for supporting the arts in our community. We are confident the future of CAPA is safe is in his hands."
Founded in 1969, CAPA operates in two cities-Columbus and New Haven (CT)-and manages 11 venues that serve more than 700,000 patrons each year through more than 1,000 events. CAPA owns downtown Columbus' historic Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, and Southern Theatre as well as New Haven's Shubert Theatre, and manages the four theatres in the Riffe Center Theatre Complex as well as the Lincoln Theatre, Drexel Theatre (Bexley), and McCoy Center for the Arts (New Albany).
Whittington will be charged with advancing CAPA's mission to develop diverse and engaging programming, to maintain its world-class theatres, and to explore new ventures that will augment CAPA's leadership in and contribution to central Ohio.
"After nearly 20 years at CAPA under the tutelage of great leaders such as Doug Kridler and Bill Conner, I'm honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead CAPA into the next chapter," stated Whittington. "Columbus is a dynamic city with an incredible arts community, and I am committed to working with our dedicated donors, board, staff, volunteers, and many community partners to support and expand upon that foundation."
Whittington is a 19-year veteran of CAPA, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2015, and as chief financial officer for five years prior to that. He played a key role in the development of CAPA's innovative shared services model, and in the creation of the long-term partnership between CAPA and Broadway Across America. He has also been involved in CAPA's touring and producing activities.
"As the person under whom Chad was first hired at CAPA 19 years ago, I know there is no one more prepared and dedicated," stated Doug Kridler, president and CEO of The Columbus Foundation and past CAPA president. "CAPA's business model demands fiscal discipline, fertile imagination, and collaborative action, and Chad can deliver on all fronts."
"Chad is a long-tenured arts leader with deep ties to Columbus and its creative community," remarked Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council. "His forward-thinking approach and well-established connection to the national and international arts scene will prove a strong asset to both CAPA and GCAC as we partner together to find new and creative ways to grow the arts offerings in Columbus and increase accessibility for all."
Whittington has also served CAPA in other roles throughout his career, including financial analyst and controller, and began as part-time cleaning and operations staff in 1998 while enrolled at The Ohio State University. He is an honors graduate of OSU with a bachelor's degree in finance.
Whittington is the treasurer of the Columbus Cultural Leadership Consortium, and an advisory member of the Columbus Metropolitan Club's finance committee. He received a Business First "Forty Under Forty" Award in 2014.
He lives in Pickerington with his wife Melinda and daughter Violet.