Atlanta Ballet chooses Hollywood leader as new executive

August 15, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Ballet has chosen a leader in the film industry as its new executive director.

Tom West, chief advancement officer at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, will fully assume his new duties at the ballet by the end of September, the ballet said in a news release on Thursday. His selection was first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

West, 54, will take over for Atlanta Ballet President & CEO Arturo Jacobus, who is retiring after 12 years.

His appointment comes as the ballet has struggled during the pandemic. It switched to streaming its performances and performing outdoors, though it plans to return to the Cobb Energy Centre for live events in December, the AJC reported.

Ballet board chair Nancy Field told the newspaper West has a strong track record of raising money for the arts. His work to increase minority representation in the film industry was also attractive, she said.

There is scant representation of African Americans, especially Black ballerinas, in the dance company, the AJC reported.