Release date: 7/24/2013

San Francisco Opera Association Announces New Board President-Elect Keith Geeslin; Election of New Directors from Technology, Corporate and Philanthropic Communities

Exciting New Leadership Changes Include Some of Silicon Valley's Most Successful and Creative Minds, Including William M. Coughran, Jr., Peter Fenton, Stephen S. Kahng, Phil Libin, Gil Penchina, Karthik Rau and Karen Richardson; Melinda Yee Franklin Joins Opera Board on Behalf of United; Arts Advocate Louise Gund Also Named

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San Francisco Opera Association today announced Keith Geeslin, a Partner at Francisco Partners, a leading global private equity firm, has been elected new president of the San Francisco Opera Association effective August 1. Geeslin succeeds George H. Hume, who will be stepping down after seven years of distinguished service as president but will continue to play an active role on the board as vice chairman. Geeslin will be the Association’s 15th president since the San Francisco Opera Association’s founding in 1923, and together with Board Chairman John Gunn, will lead the 81-member board of directors.

At the same board meeting on May 31, seven new directors were unanimously elected to the Opera Board, all with celebrated histories as leaders and innovators in the global tech arena. These directors represent a new partnership with Silicon Valley to advance the mission of San Francisco Opera and the operatic art form. They include:  William M. Coughran, Jr., a Partner with Sequoia Capital and former SVP of Engineering at Google; Peter Fenton, a General Partner at Benchmark Capital; Stephen S. Kahng, a philanthropist with a long history in the technology industry, including as founder, Chairman and CEO of  Power Computing Corporation; Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote; Gil Penchina, angel investor with advisory roles at Linkedin, Wikia, Fastly, Paypal, Tinfoil Security and Evite; Karthik Rau, CEO and co-founder of SignalFuse who formerly held leadership positions at VMWare and Delphix; and Karen Richardson, whose 25-year software business career includes successful tenures at some of the world’s most well-regarded companies, including as the former CEO of E.piphany and a director of BT Group plc.  All seven new board members will begin August 1 and serve a three-year term of service. They have been appointed to a new task force established by Keith Geeslin to develop groundbreaking new initiatives for the Company.

Also recently joining the San Francisco Opera Board of Directors is Melinda Yee Franklin of United, the Opera’s longtime corporate sponsor, and Louise Gund, an arts advocate and opera lover, environmental and political activist, and pioneering advocate for women in the arts and health.

 “Let me begin by thanking George Hume for his extraordinary service as SFO Association President for the past seven years,” commented San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. “I can’t say enough how privileged I’ve been to work with him as our president, especially during this tumultuous financial time. However, I believe we are most fortunate to welcome Keith Geeslin whose leadership qualities and genuine love of opera make him an ideal president. I look forward to our future collaboration on wide ranging issues facing the Company.”
David Gockley continued, “I’m also very, very happy to welcome all of our new board members, including those who have such strong ties with Silicon Valley. We engaged this cohort with the specific goal of strengthening San Francisco Opera’s relationship with this community of innovation, creativity and strategic thinking. San Francisco Opera has long been regarded as an industry leader in producing world renowned work and it seems more than appropriate to leverage the expertise of Silicon Valley for the advancement of the opera art form and the rich content that we can provide.”

The addition of new individuals from the technology community to the Opera Board is the result of San Francisco Opera’s ambitious and thoughtful process to identify and recruit the next generation of board leadership to help lead San Francisco Opera into the future and ensure its standing as a leading producer for the lyric theater stage. The success of these efforts is due to the leadership of Ben Nelson and the generous pro-bono services of Calibre One, a global executive search firm specializing in eight technology sectors: mobile, internet, software, hardware, communications, healthcare, business services, and cleantech. Calibre One’s work was overseen by the Opera Board’s Directors and Officers Committee chaired by Lisa Erdberg, and by Soo Venkatesan, the head of the Board’s Next Generation Task Force.

Effective August 1, the Officers of the San Francisco Opera Board are: John A. Gunn, chairman of the board; Karl O. Mills, vice chairman of the board; George H. Hume, vice chairman of the board; Keith Geeslin, president of the San Francisco Opera Association; David Gockley, general director and CEO; Paul Crane Dorfman, executive vice president; Lisa Erdberg, vice president; Steven Menzies, treasurer; Thomas A. Larsen, secretary; and Michael Simpson, chief financial officer.
About San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera is one of the world’s leading producers for the lyric stage heralded for its roster of international opera stars, innovative and bold productions, and critically acclaimed resident orchestra and chorus. Founded in 1923 by Gaetano Merola, the Company presents annual fall and summer seasons at the historic San Francisco War Memorial Opera House ranging from classic to world premiere repertoire, in addition to numerous concerts, recitals and free state-of-the-art community engagement events. Since 1955, the Company has been an industry leader in the training and launching of young professional singers by way of the Merola Opera Program and the San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellowship program. In 2008, San Francisco Opera created a new education division to expand upon the popular education and community partnership programs of the San Francisco Opera Guild. Together, these activities annually bring music education offerings to more than 65,000 students throughout Northern California, in addition to providing meaningful on-going education opportunities for all ages. The Company’s performances are further enjoyed throughout the nation and abroad via radio broadcasts, high-definition cinema screenings, and on Public Television. David Gockley became San Francisco Opera’s sixth general director in January 2006 and celebrated Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti became the Company’s music director in September 2009. Visit for more information.

San Francisco Opera Board of Directors Roster as of August 1, 2013
Officers of the Board
John A. Gunn, Chairman
Karl O. Mills, Vice Chairman
George H. Hume, Vice Chairman
Reid W. Dennis, Chairman Emeritus
Franklin P. Johnson, Chairman Emeritus
Officers of the Association
Keith Geeslin, President
David Gockley, General Director & Chief Executive Officer
Paul Crane Dorfman, Executive Vice President
Lisa Erdberg, Vice President
Steven Menzies, Treasurer
Thomas A. Larsen, Secretary
Michael Simpson, Chief Financial Officer
Board of Directors
Greer M. Arthur
Andrew J. Ball +
Dawn Yates Black
Donna L. Blacker, Merola Opera Program President χ
Timothy Blackburn
Carol Franc Buck
Jack Calhoun +
Annette Campbell-White
Ronald E. Cape, Ph.D.
Janet Chapman +
Robert D. Cory
William M. Coughran, Jr.
Paul M. Crane Dorfman +
John Cullison
Mrs. Peter W. (Jayne) Davis
Ira D. Dearing
Ray Dolby
Carol Pucci Doll
Robert A. Ellis +
Lisa Erdberg +
Concepción Federman
Peter Fenton
Kristina Johnson Flanagan
Keith B. Geeslin +
David Gockley + χ
Louise Gund
John A. Gunn +
Jane M. Hartley +
I. Craig Henderson, M.D.
John Hendrickson
Doreen Woo Ho
George H. Hume +
Bruce W. Hyman +
J. Burgess Jamieson
Dorothy M. Jeffries
Philip M. Jelley
Franklin P. Johnson, Jr. +
Stephen S. Kahng
Joseph D. Keegan, Ph.D.
Lawrence A. Kern
Mark R. Kroll
Karen Kubin, Guild President χ
Thomas A. Larsen +
Phil Libin
Sylvia R. Lindsey
Lorry I. Lokey
J. Patterson McBaine
Anne G. McWilliams
Mrs. Mark A. (Teresa) Medearis
Steven Menzies +
Karl O. Mills +
Nancy S. Mueller
Ben Nelson
J. Boyce Nute +
Masashi Oka
Hiromitsu Ogawa
Bernard Osher +
Gil Penchina
Mary A. Powell
Harriet Meyer Quarré
Karthik Rau
Randall Reynoso
Karen Richardson
Richard J. Rigg, Ph.D.
Barclay Rogers, BRAVO! President χ
C.P. Russell
Bill Russell-Shapiro +
Jack Schafer
Ruth A. Short
Mrs. George P. (Charlotte) Shultz
Vivian M. Stephenson
Lisa Stevens Gallo
Mrs. Tad (Dianne) Taube
Mrs. David T. (Joan) Traitel
Soo Venkatesan
Mrs. Alfred S. (Dede) Wilsey +
Sharon Winslow
Barbara A. Wolfe
Barbara Ward Wonder
Melinda Yee-Franklin
S. Shariq Yosufzai

+ Executive Committee Member
χ Ex Officio