Cincinnati Opera has selected Christopher Milligan as The Harry Fath General Director & CEO, following a national executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He will begin his tenure on March 2, 2020.
An industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience in arts administration and collaborative leadership, Mr. Milligan has been part of Cincinnati Opera since he first joined the organization in 1989 as a production intern. Joining Cincinnati Opera full-time in 1997 as Director of Marketing, he was responsible for all marketing and community engagement programs, raised $1.5 million in annual ticket sales, and surpassed 30-year attendance records for 12 productions. While in this role, he became the first recipient of the Marketer of the Year Award presented by the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Since 2010 Mr. Milligan served as Cincinnati Opera’s Managing Director, overseeing all functions of marketing, public relations, programming, and revenue. During his tenure, he led the development of a strategic plan, securing $1 million in funding. He also created innovative programming, including Opera Goes to Church/Temple, Opera Idol, and The Opera Express, and launched a podcast, Inside Opera. Prior to joining Cincinnati Opera, Mr. Milligan served as Program Director for Muse Machine in Dayton, Ohio.
Mr. Milligan is a member of variety of professional associations, including Miami University’s College of Creative Arts, Literary Club of Cincinnati, and Leadership Cincinnati, of which he is an alumnus. Mr. Milligan holds a professional certificate in foresight from the University of Houston and bachelor of arts from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
In making the announcement, Board Chair Liz Kathman Grubow said, “We are thrilled to name Chris Milligan as the new General Director & CEO of Cincinnati Opera. He has the institutional knowledge of the company and its ethos and his collaborative leadership style will harness the incredible depth and breadth of talent we have on our staff, in our community, and in the opera world. He possesses and unwavering belief that opera can transform lives and touch souls and he will be relentless in championing the company’s efforts toward producing great work and enhancing its accessibility for all audiences.”
“I have spent much of my career with Cincinnati Opera, committed to advancing an art form I believe makes our community more humane, connected, and creative,” said Mr. Milligan. “Even today, I am just as excited about this storied cultural institution’s potential as when I started with the company in 1997…I will strive to be a champion for opera that is soul-stirring, adventurous, ennobling, and accessible. Our company and our community deserve nothing less.”
“Congratulations to everyone at Cincinnati Opera and to Mr. Milligan on his appointment as General Director & CEO,” said ACG Senior Vice President Douglas R. Clayton. “With his deep passion and extensive knowledge of opera and the city of Cincinnati, Mr. Milligan is perfectly positioned to lead Cincinnati Opera as it begins its second century of creating powerful opera on a national scale.”