The Long Center for the Performing Arts has named Cory Baker as its new president and chief executive officer.
Baker has been serving in the role on an interim basis since May, after former Long Center board member and retired high tech entrepreneur Marc Seriff abruptly left the CEO post just four months after assuming the leadership role of one of Austin’s largest arts organization.
Baker had been serving as interim CEO since Seriff’s departure.
Baker joined the Long Center staff in September of 2015 as the organization’s vice president of programming and production. Previously, she had served in a similar post at Arizona’s Scottsdale Center for the Performing Art.
Vice president of the Western Arts Alliance, Baker has 15 years experience in performing arts administration and holds degrees in sociology and religious studies from Arizona State University.
Long Center board chair Patsy Woods Martin said that Baker was chosen after a national search.
“We knew when we first met Cory last year that we had found some one very special,” said Woods Martin. “She has continued to demonstrate the kind of leadership, vision, passion and strategic thinking that we believe are critical to guiding the Long Center.”
Baker’s appointment ends a tumultuous course of events in the Long Center’s top leadership.
In January, after five years on the job, Jamie Grant announced he was leaving the center’s top post to take a position at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minn.
Immediately, Seriff, a philanthropist and retired AOL co-founder, took up the CEO post on an interim basis.
Seriff had been on the Long Center board since it opened in 2008 until he resigned last year to join the organization’s staff as vice president of special projects, a job created specifically for him and for which he took a $1 salary.
In March, Seriff was named to the CEO post permanently though the Long Center board had conducted no national search for an experienced arts administrator.
On May 26, it was announced that Seriff was resigning effective immediately, citing family reasons.