Chief Financial Officer - Houston Grand Opera, Houston, TX

Houston Grand Opera (HGO) was founded in 1955 through the joint efforts of Maestro Walter Herbert and cultural leaders Mrs. Louis G. Lobit, Edward Bing and Charles Cockrell. From its modest beginnings – HGO's inaugural season featured a mere two performances of two operas, Salome and Madame Butterfly – HGO has grown into a company of international stature. HGO's mission is to profoundly impact their community by creating operatic art that provides access to music’s boundless power and beauty. Its core values are excellence, relevance, and affordability. As one of the country's principal commissioners and producers of new works, HGO has introduced 48 world premieres and six American premieres since 1973. HGO has received a Tony Award, two Grammy Awards, and two Emmy Awards—the only opera company in the world to have won all three honors.

The artistic foundation of HGO rests on three outstanding departments: the HGO Orchestra, HGO Chorus and HGO Studio. During Patrick Summers’ tenure with the Company, the HGO Orchestra has reached a new level of virtuosity, adding many great masterworks to its repertoire. The HGO Chorus, which was created at the same time as HGO itself in 1955, has become one of the world's most acclaimed opera choruses under the direction of Chorus Master Richard Bado.  The HGO Studio was founded in 1977 by composer Carlisle Floyd and HGO's then-General Director David Gockley. The HGO Studio’s mission is to provide career development for young artists who have demonstrated potential to make major contributions to the opera / musical theater profession. The Studio's goal is to develop the greatest voices into well-rounded professionals prepared for all performance aspects in the fields of opera and musical theater and in all genres: traditional European operas, contemporary opera and works of musical theater by American composers from diverse cultural backgrounds, innovative interpretations of the standard repertoire, recitals, concerts with orchestra, and fully staged productions.

To increase the company's relevance and deepen its connection to the community, in 2007 HGO established HGOco, a far-reaching initiative established to break down barriers to the arts by creating opportunities for observation, participation, and creation. The "co" in HGOco represents a focus on company, community, connection, and collaboration. Maximizing the resources of the entire company (staff, chorus, orchestra, designers, technicians, guest artists, etc.) and collaborating with kindred organizations, HGOco seeks to change the way people involve art in their lives. These efforts include all of HGO's education and community-engaging activities. In its first six years, HGOco has reached more than one million people and collaborated with over 70 organizations throughout the Houston area. Please refer to HGO’s website for additional information:


Houston is one of the most vibrant cities in the United States and is the nation’s fourth largest, with a population of over two million; the metro area has a population of over six million. The Bayou City (the nickname comes from its ten winding waterways) is statistically the most diverse city in the US and has a storied history as a boomtown, center of commerce and arts and culture hub. If it were an independent country, its economy would be the 30th largest in the world. Other than New York, no U.S. city has more Fortune 500 companies. Nonetheless, cost of living is low when compared with other major metropolitan areas – 9% below the national average, with housing costs 21% below the national average. Other major arts institutions include Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, The Alley Theatre all situated within the second largest performing arts district in the US. The Museum of Fine Arts and the Menil Collection and over 500 other arts and cultural organizations have thrived in this extraordinary place. Houston is also a restaurant town and its residents eat out more than any other city in the country. It is also one of the youngest cities in the U.S. and its population is international, with over 90 languages spoken.


HGO operates under a dual leadership model. Patrick Summers serves as Artistic and Music Director; Perryn Leech is the Managing Director. Their bios may be found on the HGO website. The Company is currently operating with an annual operating budget of approximately $28 million with over 110 fulltime employees and hundreds of seasonal and contract employees. In 1987, HGO officially moved into its home at the Wortham Theater Center, a 437,500-square-foot facility featuring two theaters — the Alice and George Brown Theater and the Roy and Lillie Cullen Theater — which together contain over 3,300 seats. The $72 million state-of-the-art-facility was built entirely with private funds during a major downturn in Houston's economy and was given to the City of Houston, which owns the facility. It is now managed by a separate 501(c) 3 nonprofit – Houston First.  In 1997, improvements were made to the Wortham Center that included the addition of 180 seats in the main orchestra section and an expansion and reconfiguration of the orchestra pit. Further renovations resulting in a major expansion of the orchestra pit were completed in 2005. HGO management and staff occupy offices on multiple floors in the Wortham in spacious and comfortable facilities.


Although HGO’s prominence is secure nationally and internationally, the Company is not resting on its past accomplishments. Rather, its leadership has outlined bold objectives for the future, including the following:

• Main Stage programming will be comprised of classic operas, new productions and world premieres, great American musicals, holiday traditions and discovery works.

• The HGO Studio will continue to produce the next generation of opera stars and administrators, as it has for nearly four decades.

• HGOco, the company’s city-wide collaboration, touching the lives of Houstonians through performances, workshops, lectures, student performances, vocal training, opera camps, residencies and the innovative Song of Houston project.

• Significant growth of its electronic output and footprint.


The Chief Financial Officer is a Senior Management Team member and works closely with the Managing Director to provide operational leadership and oversight in all matters of ongoing financial management, accounting and strategic business development. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The Chief Financial Officer will develop and maintain systems and procedures for HGO financial operations, exercising independent judgment to ensure conformity with fiscal best practice, company policies and goals.

• Provide information, participate and lead implementation (as required) in the long-range strategic planning of the organization.

• Assist and direct in the preparation and development of fiscal year budgets.

• Develop and implement fiscal policies and procedures.

• Proactively manage all banking and investment relationships, loans and lines of credit ensuring that the organization is maximizing benefits and minimizing costs.

• Supervise the preparation of financial statements and submit to administration, Board of Directors, Board of Directors (Endowment), funding sources, and required governmental agencies as required by Managing Director. 

• Manage all insurance programs of the organization and recommend insurance requirements and policies.

• Administer legal matters of the organization, seeking appropriate counsel and resolving such matters at a minimum expense and risk exposure to the organization.

• Maintain high level contacts with personnel in other agencies, board members and public and private groups to position HGO as the leading performing arts non-profit in Houston

• Assist in developing data processing systems for financial planning and reporting purposes.

• Create and implement financial reporting and present results to the Managing Director and when needed to the Board of Directors, Board of Directors (Endowment), Finance, Endowment, and Audit Committees. Consistently benchmark the financial and business operations of the organization to determine financial requirements and advise Managing Director of findings.

• Maintain up-to-date oversight and compliance on non-profit best practices and federal and state laws regarding non-profit operations.

• Interact with all external auditors.

• Manage Accounting, IT and HR staff, helping them set and achieve annual performance goals.

• Perform other related duties as directed.


The Chief Financial Officer will have a minimum 7 years of relevant experience in accounting and at least 3 in a not-for-profit environment. At least 5 years’ managing experience with a proven track record in hiring and maintaining a professional and committed staff. Possess strong interpersonal, written communication skills and the highest personal integrity. Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting or a related field is required. CPA and a knowledge of the performing arts are strongly preferred.

Special Job Characteristics:

Decisive with a “big picture” perspective.  Team player: values collaboration among individuals and other departments. The Chief Financial Officer will be well-organized: able to manage tasks successfully; prioritize and delegate effectively. A strategic visionary with sound technical skills, analytical ability, good judgment, strong operational focus and a creative thinker. 


The Chief Financial Officer salary will be very competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. Benefits will include the following:

• Medical/dental/life/disability insurance plans (largely employer funded);

• Flexible spending account;

• A 403(b) plan with employer match; 

• Paid vacation, holidays and sick leave 

• Parking or reimbursement for Mass Transit.

HGO hopes to make its decision by Summer of 2017, with the successful candidate onsite as soon as possible thereafter. Applicants should submit a résumé, cover letter, salary history and four professional references electronically to the email address below of the consulting firm retained to facilitate this important search.

Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Attn: Jonathan West

Email Only:      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject Line:     HGO CFO Search

Houston Grand Opera is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates for employment are considered without regard to race, color, sex,
creed, religion, national origin, sexual preference, age, non-job-related disability, or marital status.


Last modified on Thursday, 20 April 2017 14:27