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Maestro CIO wanted for Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is stepping up moves to appoint its first-ever chief information officer (CIO) as the Australian icon upgrades management of its technology and information resources. A spokesperson for the Opera House -- Australia's leading performing arts centre and one of the nation's most recognisable symbols globally -- told ZDNet Australia the new appointee would report to the acting director of finance and systems, Lindsay Kelly.

The Sydney Opera House is stepping up moves to appoint its first-ever chief information officer (CIO) as the Australian icon upgrades management of its technology and information resources.

A spokesperson for the Opera House -- Australia's leading performing arts centre and one of the nation's most recognisable symbols globally -- told ZDNet Australia the new appointee would report to the acting director of finance and systems, Lindsay Kelly.

Kelly was unavailable for comment today. However, the spokesperson confirmed this was the first time the Opera House -- which receives more than four million visitors and hosts more than 2,500 events every year -- had created a CIO position to manage technology and information at a strategic level.

According to an advertisement placed by a headhunting firm in a weekend newspaper, the CIO would "provide strategic direction to the development and management of information technology resources".

Other duties include development of IT shared services with presenting partners and management of a consortium -- whose other members are the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Opera Australia and the Seymour Centre -- to implement new ticketing and fundraising systems under the Unified Customer Support System (UCSS) project. The project was established in April last year and full cutover to the UCSS software at the Opera House took place from 1 January, 2006.

The new systems are based on the Tessitura Arts Enterprise Software, a customised offering originally developed by the New York-based Metropolitan Opera.

According to the job advertisement, the remuneration package on offer is valued at between AU$155,151 and AU$166,450. Candidates are expected to sign a negotiated contract of up to five years.

Applications close on 24 February.

A position description on the NSW government recruitment Web site indicated the CIO would have two direct reports: a technology manager, and a manager for UCSS. The Opera House has appointed Denise McKeon as acting IT manager.

The CIO would also be expected to chair the Sydney Opera House information management and technology (IM&T) steering committee, replacing or upgrading its financial system to a whole-of-enterprise system and manage the relationship with major sponsor Hewlett-Packard.

The Opera House also warned the successful candidate would not have an easy ride. Potential challenges nominated by the organisation include developing the UCSS model "in an environment where a consortium business model has not been implemented previously and consortium parties are protective and cautious with their customer and other data" and overcoming entrenched cultural attitudes.