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Gordon Sprenger expected to be named Minnesota Orchestra's new board chair [Star Tribune (Minneapolis) :: ]
[January 30, 2014]

Gordon Sprenger expected to be named Minnesota Orchestra's new board chair [Star Tribune (Minneapolis) :: ]

(Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 30--The Minnesota Orchestral Association is expected to name Gordon Sprenger as its new board chairman Friday morning.

Three sources have told the Star Tribune that Sprenger, 76, would take over from outgoing chair Jon Campbell, who had agreed to step down once a new contract was negotiated with musicians.

Following a lockout that lasted 16 months, that agreement was ratified on Jan. 14 by musicians and the board of directors.

Sprenger, the retired CEO of Allina Health Systems, was described by one source as "a healer." He will need that quality as he tries to unite an organization that has been torn by a labor dispute that resulted in bitterness on all sides.

The former CEO of Abbott Northwestern Hospital has been a member of the orchestra's board for several years.

The musicians will play for the first time in a newly remodeled Orchestra Hall on Feb. 7. That "welcome home" concert will be led by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. It is anticipated that Sprenger will address the audience that night.

As previously reported, Campbell, an executive vice president at Wells Fargo, is expected to step away from the board of directors. He and immediate past chair Richard Davis became lightning rods of criticism among supporters of the musicians. Before the association's annual meeting, 10 DFL legislators demanded the resignation of both men and CEO Michael Henson.

Campbell and Davis each indicated days after the settlement was reached that they intended to leave the board.

The new contract cut salaries by 15 percent and increased musician contributions to health care. There are raises in the second two years of the three-year deal. The board's original proposal, delivered in April, 2012, sought cuts in base salary of roughly 30 percent.

Of immediate concern for Sprenger and the board is the issue of artistic leadership. Osmo Vänskä resigned as music director on Oct. 1 to protest the inability of the board and musicians to reach a contract at that point. He has indicated informally that he might entertain a return to Minnesota if he were asked.

Graydon Royce -- 612-673-7299 ___ (c)2014 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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