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After One Year, Lincoln Center President Debora L. Spar Resigns

Debora L. Spar, who became Lincoln Center’s first female president after Jed Bernstein stepped down due to a relationship with a staff member, has announced her own resignation one year after taking the job. According to the New York Times, Spar wrote a letter to her colleagues in which she addresses “how challenging the past year has been, both personally and professionally. . . . Moving from academia to the performing arts world pushed me to think, learn, and lead in new ways. While we have achieved a lot together over the past year, I have also questioned whether the role is right for me.”

Spar, the former president of Barnard College, departs six months after Lincoln Center scrapped its plans for an extensive renovation of David Geffen Hall—an estimated $500 million was still needed for the project when Spar joined as president. The center plans to carry out more modest improvements instead. David Geffen, who contributed $100 million for the project in 2015, has expressed his frustration with the initiative and has called out wealthy New Yorkers for not donating to the institution. In an interview with the New York Times, Deborah Borda—who was named president of the New York Philharmonic last year and was advocated scaling back the David Geffen Hall renovation—brushed aside the notion of a conflict between her and Spar. “She was a great partner to work with on the hall,” Borda said. “I think she just felt this wasn’t a good fit.”

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