By Patrick Phillips | September 29, 2020 at 11:46 AM EDT - Updated September 29 at 11:46 AM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit that manages Charleston’s Gaillard Center is announcing plans to retire next year.
Stephen Bedard will retire in June 2021 after five years of leadership, Gaillard Management Corporation Chairman Charles Way Jr. announced Tuesday. GMC will launch a nine-month succession plan and a search for Bedard’s successor will be led by board member Ted Legasey.
“This has been a wonderful job for me—a real honor and privilege to help make the magnificent Charleston Gaillard Center become a place where lives throughout the Charleston region are being enriched through unforgettable experiences,” Bedard said. “I’m very proud of our team and the work they have done, and I look forward to continuing to work with them and our GMC board, the Gaillard Foundation, the CSO, Spoleto, and our many other partners as we bring the vision of our strategic plan to reality and transition to new leadership.”
Bedard became President and CEO in June 2016 and will have served 5 years in this role when the transition is complete.
In May 1998, he was named the City of Charleston’s first-ever chief financial officer and continued to serve in that position until he joined the GMC. During his tenure with the city, financial rating agencies ranked Charleston the number one city in South Carolina and recognized the city with eight bond rating increases.
“Steve Bedard stepped into the role as the Gaillard’s CEO early in the start-up of this organization at a time when the finances were not in good shape at all,” Way said. “He fixed that and put the organization on a path of steady improvement.”
The Charleston Gaillard Center opened in 2015 and provides the Lowcountry with the world-class Martha and John M. Rivers Performance Hall; 15,000 square feet of elegant venue space; and vibrant educational opportunities inspiring our community’s children through the power of the performing arts.
Since opening, the Gaillard Center has hosted more than 90,000 students, with nearly 61,000 of them attending completely free of charge, including the cost of bus transportation.
Gaillard Center educators, artists-in-residence, and teaching artists have taught more than 1,200 in-school workshops to students throughout the Lowcountry.
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