A leader of Beyoncé’s business empire will serve as the next chief executive of American Ballet Theater, the dance company announced on Tuesday.
Janet Rollé, general manager of Parkwood Entertainment, Beyoncé’s media and management company, will in January assume the role of chief executive and executive director of Ballet Theater, one of the nation’s most prestigious ballet companies. Rollé, 59, who is Black, will be the first person of color to lead the company.
In a statement, she said she would seek to “preserve and extend the legacy of American Ballet Theater, and to ensure its future prosperity, cultural impact and relevance.”
“To come full circle and be in a position to give back to the art that has given me so much is a source of unbridled and immense joy,” said Rollé, who has long had an interest in dance and was 8 when her mother, an immigrant from Jamaica, took her to her first class.
Rollé will face several immediate challenges, including helping Ballet Theater recover from the turmoil of the pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of two seasons and cost the company millions of dollars in anticipated ticket revenue and touring fees. The pandemic has brought fresh urgency to the company’s efforts to attract new audiences and expand its pool of donors.
The company is also searching for an artistic director to replace Kevin McKenzie, who plans to leave next year after three decades in the position.
Andrew Barth, chairman of Ballet Theater’s board, said Rollé’s experience in marketing and strategy would be an asset. She has spent most of her career in the media sector, holding senior positions at CNN, Black Entertainment Television and AOL. She also sits on the board of BuzzFeed.
“She is brimming with ideas to lead A.B.T. into the next decade, all while respecting Ballet Theater’s history and legacy,” Barth said.
Rollé succeeds Kara Medoff Barnett, who stepped down earlier this year to take a role at First Republic Bank.