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ABT News

August 28, 2002


Lewis Ranieri, Chairman of the Board of Governing Trustees of American Ballet Theatre, today announced a number of management changes including the appointment of a Chief Financial Officer, a Director of Human Resources, the designation of a Chief Operating Officer, a reorganization of the office of the Executive Director and the appointment of a Special Advisor to the Chairman and President.

Mr. Ranieri explained that the purpose of the reorganization is to put in place the senior team, which will execute the agenda of American Ballet Theatre over the next several years. Mr. Ranieri became Chairman of the Board of Governing Trustees effective August 1, 2002, along with Robin Neustein who became President at that time.

“American Ballet Theatre is mobilizing for a great future. ABT’s mission is to create, present and preserve the excitement of classical dance on the world stage through performances and educational programming of the highest quality. To ensure ABT achieves these aspirations, we are reorganizing and adding resources – placing the right people in the right roles by matching talent to challenges,” said Mr. Ranieri.

Executive Director Wallace Chappell will shed his operating responsibilities to focus full time on strategic objectives in the newly created role of Director of Strategic Initiatives, reporting to the Chairman and President. Mr. Chappell will continue to serve as a member of the Board of Governing Trustees and as a member of the Executive Committee. He will also become Co-Chairman of the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee. Of his new role, Mr. Chappell said, “I look forward to helping ABT realize its strategic mission and aggressive goals.”

Elizabeth Harpel Kehler will step in as Executive Director and will assume Mr. Chappell’s operating responsibilities. Ms. Kehler has been a member of ABT’s Board of Governing Trustees since 1998 and is a member of the Executive Committee. Ms. Kehler holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BA from Harvard. She previously worked in banking at Lehman Brothers and Bankers Trust Company.

Ms. Kehler, who has been a Vice President of Ballet Theatre Foundation, has previously chaired ABT’s Strategic Planning Committee, PR and Marketing Committee, the Family Day event, and currently serves as Secretary to the Board of Governing Trustees.

Mr. Ranieri added, “We are delighted that ABT has the full-time service of such a talented executive as Liz Kehler.”

Ms. Kehler said, "ABT has an outstanding board, a dedicated staff and some of the finest dancers in the world led by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. I look forward to working with all of them in my new role, and I especially look forward to ABT’s fall 2002 season at City Center."

Mark Robinson will become the Chief Financial Officer for American Ballet Theatre. Mr. Robinson, a Certified Public Accountant, most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and was CEO and Executive Director of GMHC from 1992 through 1998.

Nancy Fleeter, currently General Manager for ABT, will assume the additional title of Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Fleeter, whom Mr. Robinson succeeds as CFO, joined ABT as Director of Finance in 2000 and was promoted to the position of General Manager in October 2001. She has previously held positions in finance and business at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Robinson will report to Ms. Fleeter.

Susan Gottlieb is joining American Ballet Theatre in the newly created position of Director of Human Resources. Ms. Gottlieb was most recently the Senior HR Generalist for the Marsh & McLennan Family Relationship Management Program and has held HR and recruiting positions at UBS Warburg, AG, and Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP. “With ABT’s growth and the increasing complexity of its operations, Ms. Gottlieb will fill an important role in our management team,” said Mr. Ranieri.

Susan Jaffe, who joined ABT in 1980 and retired as a Principal Dancer in June of this year, will serve in the newly created position of Advisor to the Chairman and the President. “Susan Jaffe’s broad experience at the pinnacle of classical dance and her long association with ABT will make her a valuable resource as ABT moves forward in this exciting, challenging and rewarding period of our evolution,” said Ms. Neustein.

Mr. Ranieri emphasized, “American Ballet Theatre is committed to its role as America’s national ballet company. We are enthusiastic about our preeminent role in presenting classical dance to the widest possible audience.”

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