Citing “health concerns,” Bill Lively says he’s stepping down as president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The DSO made the bombshell announcement today, just 29 days after the fund-raising maestro took over the position part-time. The announcement quoted Lively, 67, as saying that on the advice of his physician, he would have to “prematurely” resign and “devote significant time this summer to rest and recuperation.”
In an interview this morning, Lively said that in recent weeks he’d lost 10 pounds and begun having headaches and became alarmed, mindful that two of his brothers had experienced strokes. His doctor suggested that working long hours for many years had led to “cumulative fatigue and stress,” Lively said, and that, in order to get better, he needed to recuperate. He’ll do that this summer at a second home in Estes Park, Colo., Lively said, before returning to Dallas in the fall and “considering another assignment.”
DSO Board Chair Ron Gafford said the board would “start the process of identifying interim leadership” immediately. Lively (pictured in photo by Jeanne Prejean) had been scheduled to wrap up his commitment with the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee late next month, and then to start full-time with the DSO in June.
Because of his fund-raising prowess with Super Bowl XLV and in previous positions, Lively had been widely viewed as a “savior” for the symphony, which has been plagued by budget deficits in recent years. At a D CEO event just last week, he hinted at a methodical plan for revamping the organization significantly. Lively said this morning that the DSO is in good shape overall, except for one thing: “Their only weakness is that they’ve been leaderless for too long.” Now, it appears, they’ll be leaderless for awhile longer.