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Center for the Performing Arts names Interim President/CEO for permanent post

After a months-long national search, the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel has named its interim leader to the permanent, full-time position of President and CEO of the Center and the affiliated Great American Songbook Foundation.

Jeffrey C. McDermott, a 30-year resident of Carmel and longtime partner with Krieg DeVault law firm, has been serving as interim President/CEO of the Center since the August 2016 departure of his predecessor, Tania Castroverde Moskalenko. The nonprofit organization presents and hosts hundreds of concerts and other events each year on its city-owned three-venue campus, home to the 1,600-seat Palladium concert hall as well as six resident performing arts companies.

“I am humbled and honored to take on a more formal leadership role in this operation, which has become a world-class attraction for central Indiana, a vital component of my city’s economic development efforts and a provider of such wonderful entertainment and educational programming for people of all ages in our community,” McDermott said. “We have a tremendous staff and board in place, and I’m excited to work with them in developing the new strategic plan that will elevate our national profile and carry us into the future.”

McDermott’s involvement at the Center predates the 2011 opening of the Palladium. He joined the Center’s Board of Directors in 2010 and has since served as the board’s legal counsel and a member of its Executive Committee, Development Committee, Audit Committee, Finance Committee and Governance Committee. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the Board of Directors of the Great American Songbook Foundation as it became permanently affiliated with the Center and substantially expanded its national board, its donor base and its historical archives.

Eric Payne, chair of the Center’s board, said the CEO search committee retained a national search firm, reviewed over 40 resumes and interviewed five candidates in person before making its unanimous decision on the hire.

“It was imperative for us to conduct an independent search, but Jeff has a stellar reputation in the community and has clearly demonstrated his ability to lead the organization,” said Payne, a managing director with the Payne & Mencias Group at Merrill Lynch in Indianapolis. “The board has been impressed with the new initiatives in programming, marketing, finance and other areas that Jeff has driven over the past 12 months. We are excited about the momentum at the Center, and with this key piece in place, we look forward to its continued growth and development.”

Songbook Foundation founder Michael Feinstein, who serves as the Center’s artistic director, praised the selection of McDermott.

“Jeff’s leadership and commitment to the Center and the Songbook Foundation have been essential from the very beginning,” said the Grammy-nominated performer and music preservationist. “I look forward to continuing our work together as we build on the tremendous potential we have established in Carmel.”

McDermott holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School. A litigation attorney for over three decades, he will step down from his partner status at Krieg DeVault but retain a connection to the firm under the title of senior counsel.

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