|Jack Downey, Symphony President and CEO
San Antonio Symphony Names Nonprofit Executive Jack Downey as President/CEO
Business and fundraising background perfect addition to Symphony team
SAN ANTONIO (May 1, 2013) – The San Antonio Symphony announced today that retired Air Force officer, local businessman and fundraising consultant Jack Downey will assume the position of President/CEO for the organization effective immediately.
Board President Dennert Ware made the announcement Wednesday morning as Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing and the 72-musician orchestra assembled to rehearse Friday and Saturday night’s performance of Beethoven and Sibelius. Symphony supporters and subscribers were simultaneously alerted by email.
“Jack is a proven leader with a long record of service in our community,” Ware said. “He built the Children's Shelter here into a national model, and we expect he will be just as successful taking our world class Symphony into its last season at the Majestic and then on to our permanent home at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts."
David Filner, who served as the Symphony’s Interim CEO for five months, will resume his previous duties.
"David did a superb job overseeing all the Symphony's business operations while we conducted our search," Ware added. "We really appreciate his service.”
Ware said the Board’s search committee was unanimous in its decision to offer the position to Downey. “Sometimes you have to look no further than home to find the right leader, and that's the case for the San Antonio Symphony," Ware said. “We now have the great team we’ve been seeking: Jack’s proven organizational leadership and Sebastian’s world-class artistic and musical direction.”
Downey brings a strong record of military and nonprofit leadership as well as development prowess to the Symphony. He retired from the United States Air Force in 1992 after a 26-year career and entered the nonprofit world by rescuing Christian Senior Services from imminent bankruptcy as its executive director.
Downey then moved to The Children’s Shelter, where he grew the agency’s budget from $300,000 to $15 million, departing as president/CEO in 2008 to join The Briscoe Western Art Museum as executive director. Later, he formed his own nonprofit consulting firm, Downey Associates, with his wife Mary Downey, who now serves as executive director for the San Antonio chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals as a planned giving specialist. Downey and his wife have two grown sons, Lee and Trace.
Downey’s fundraising and management experience strategically complements the artistic leadership of Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing.
"Strong business leadership is the backbone of a thriving orchestra and makes great concerts possible,” said Lang-Lessing. "It's an exciting new era for the performing arts in San Antonio. We are thrilled the search committee found Jack Downey as the Symphony prepares for a wonderful new chapter in our long history and our 75th anniversary season at the new Tobin Center.”
Downey holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. He also has taught nonprofit leadership and management as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Downey described the Symphony CEO position as “an irresistible opportunity.”
"I accepted this position because I believe arts and culture are the vital signs of any great city. The Symphony is magnificent on stage, but what Sebastian and our musicians do off stage is just as important. They are the heart of the city's music ecosystem. They inspire and teach students, who make music a path to higher education. Every day of the year our musicians are out in the community, working, volunteering, touching lives. We have a great story to tell. "