RITCHIE, A CIVIC FIXTURE, WILL LEAVE DCPA CHAIR POST
The board chair says it’s time to hand over control of Denver’s arts center to others.
Daniel L. Ritchie, the chairman of the board of trustees for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and a longtime civic fixture in the city, will step down from his post in 2017.
Daniel L. Ritchie, the chairman of the board of trustees for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and a long-time civic fixture in the city, will step down from his post in 2017.
Ritchie made the announcement on Tuesday night, according to Suzanne Yoe, spokeswoman for DCPA. An exact date for when he will leave his post has not been set, but the organization hopes to find and install a replacement before the end of June.
Ritchie has been chairman for about a decade, during which time he has helped boost DCPA’s profile and reinforce its commitment to arts education.
“We have a wonderful new CEO,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “We have probably the best theater organization in the country, or darn close to it, with wonderful people and artists. There comes a time in all of our lives when it’s time to turn it over to the next generation. I think that’s where we’re at here.”
Ritchie, 85, says he plans to continue his work in the community and with DCPA, but that he’s excited to see the direction the organization takes.
“Mr. Ritchie is a pillar in our community who so thoughtfully and selflessly does so much for our community,” DCPA president and CEO Janice Sinden said. “When he came into the organization 10 years ago, he moved into the role as not only chairman of the board, but CEO. He has held a dual role for a long time and he has never accepted a salary.”
Ritchie also made generous gifts to the organization during his tenure and Sinden said that his generosity and commitment likely will continue long after he leaves office.
“It’s embedded in our organization as what we do,” Sinden said, adding that Ritchie’s love and commitment will forever be appreciated.
Ritchie attended Harvard for his undergraduate and business degrees before serving in the U.S. Army and eventually joining Lehman Brothers as a securities analyst in New York. He then went on to work in Hollywood as executive vice president of MCA Universal where he became a leading force in the entertainment industry, his DCPA biography says.
He also served as chief executive of Westinghouse Broadcasting for eight years before moving to Colorado in 1987.
Ritchie was chancellor of the University of Denver from 1989 to 2005, a period during which he helped boost the school’s reputation and drastically increase its fundraising. The university’s center for sports and wellness is named in his honor. A recently dedicated engineering and computer science
building is named for Ritchie’s father.
Ritchie joined the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ board of trustees in 2005, and in 2007 was named chairman and chief executive officer.
According to his DCPA bio, he was influential in diversifying the organization’s programming and under his watch it expanded its newplay development program, launched three national Broadway touring premieres, provided funds for two successful matching gift fundraising campaigns, and served more than 400,000 students through its theatereducation program.
He has received several awards honoring his civic engagement.
Ritchie first retired as DCPA’s CEO in 2014, but returned to work earlier this year, after president and CEO Scott Shiller resigned citing a difference in vision for the future.
Ritchie left the CEO post again in September, when Sinden was hired.
“There’s plenty to do,” Ritchie said Wednesday. “But in this case, it’s just time to let the next generation take it. They’ll do it, you’ll see.”
Ritchie told The Denver Post that his community engagement has always come out of gratitude for those who helped him along the way. Being from a small mill town in North Carolina, he doesn’t know where he would be without the support of others, he said.
“I hope I’m not remembered for anything,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about everybody else. I don’t work to be recognized.”
Ritchie took over as chair of DCPA when Donald R. Seawell stepped down. Seawell is the only other person to hold the positions of chair and chief executive officer of DCPA since its founding in 1972.
Seawell died in September 2015 at the age of 103.
Former Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton will lead a committee to identify the next chair in a process that will unfold over the next several months, with a goal of identifying Ritchie’s replacement by DCPA’s annual meeting in June.