Festival Hires Elizabeth Hurley as Executive Director

October 28, 2009

After a seven-month international search, Elizabeth Hurley is named the new Executive Director of the Grant Park Music Festival.

Elizabeth Hurley, development director at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and former vice president for development at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has been named executive director of the Grant Park Music Festival, effective Dec. 7.

Her appointment follows a seven-month international search for a successor to James W. Palermo, who left Grant Park in March to become president and CEO of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

For the last three years Hurley, 47, managed core fundraising activities at the Metropolitan Opera. She also secured funding for various new projects, including the high-profile "Live in HD" transmissions of Met productions to movie theaters in more than 35 countries around the world.

From 2005 to 2006 she served as managing director of development for the U.S. Olympic Committee, where she raised funds to support three Olympic training centers, sports medicine and sports initiatives for the 2008 Beijing, 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London games.

From 1990 to 2005 Hurley held various positions in the development department of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, the CSO's governing body. During her five years as vice president for development, beginning in 2000, she directed all fundraising activities as a board officer and member of the senior leadership team.

Before coming to the CSO, the Tennessee native was assistant director of development for volunteer programs at the Chicago Historical Society and worked as women's board coordinator at the Field Museum.

John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune