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A Managing Director Who Is a Born Leader


Sunday, May 19, 2019
The Ballroom at Bayou Place

Perryn Leech is the managing director, Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair, at Houston Grand Opera (HGO). Perryn works closely with the HGO board of directors; Artistic and Music Director, Patrick Summers; and the exemplary HGO staff. With their collaboration, he is responsible for putting into effect a long-term planning process, which focuses on investing in new works, cultivating community partnerships, training the next generation of opera professionals, building staff and infrastructure, and increasing HGO’s digital presence. His close relationship with board members and other donors has allowed HGO to build strong financial support with the assistance of individual and corporate members.

Perryn, who was born in Brighton, England, is married to author Caroline Leech. He and Caroline are the proud parents of their three children, Jemma, Kirsty, and Rory.

Perryn joined HGO as technical and production director during the 2006–07 season. He was recruited by Anthony Freud, HGO’s managing director at the time, from the Welsh National Opera (WNO) where they had worked together. Because he admired Freud and relished the opportunity of working with him again, and because he was excited by the professional challenge of practicing his craft on another continent, Perryn accepted Freud’s offer. It turned out to be the right decision for everyone. He became chief operating officer in August 2010 and in May 2011 was appointed the company’s managing director, overseeing all aspects of its operations.

Prior to his position as technical director of WNO, Perryn held the position of production manager of the English National Opera for four years. His extensive freelance career included serving as the head of lighting at the Edinburgh International Festival, one of the largest and most prestigious arts festivals in the world.

Perryn’s leadership and vision have guided HGO to its status as one of the world’s most innovative opera companies. Inspiring Performance, the company’s fundraising campaign from 2007 to 2014 exceeded its target of $165 million by raising $172.9 million. Serving over 200,000 Houstonians each season, through the principles of excellence, relevance, and affordability, HGO has become a vital component of Houston’s cultural community.

Perryn wasted no time after Hurricane Harvey caused extensive damage to the Wortham Theater Center, HGO’s home. Once he and Patrick Summers were certain none of the HGO family had come to any harm, the pair began the work of salvaging the 2017-18 season. Perryn led HGO’s technical and production team in building a temporary theater, which was aptly named Resilience Theater, inside the George R. Brown Convention Center in only 13 days. Due to his singular vision and guidance, HGO presented the entire 63rd season in this space.

In further service to the community, Perryn is chairman of the board for Theater District Houston, serves as a board member of Houston Grand Opera and Opera America, is a board member and treasurer of the Houston Arts Combined Endowment Foundation, and is a board member and secretary of the Wortham Center Operating Company. In 2016, he was appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve on his Quality of Life Transition Committee.

In August of 2018, Perryn was named one of Houston’s most admired nonprofit business leaders by Houston Business Journal (HBJ). A panel of judges chose 35 for-profit leaders and 13 nonprofit leaders to receive the inaugural award. All 48 recipients were honored at a luncheon on August 23, 2018 at the Hilton Americas-Houston and were also recognized in a special edition of HBJ in the August 24, 2018 issue.

In all aspects of his work with HGO as managing director, Perryn has shown extraordinary leadership and guided the company to remarkable successes. In 2017, HGO was the only American finalist for Opera Company of the Year at the 2017 International Opera Awards, and it has been nominated again in 2019. HGO is also the only American opera company to win Grammy, Emmy, and Tony awards. If “all the world’s a stage,” then, under the directorship of Perryn Leech, HGO has become an important player on it.

CKW LUXE would like to congratulate Perryn Leech for being a CKW LUXE Top 20 CEOs and Entrepreneurs Awards recipient for 2019.

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