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Dallas' AT&T Performing Arts Center snags new CEO from New Jersey

Dallas' AT&T Performing Arts Center snags new CEO from New Jersey

Winspear Opera House
Winspear Opera House, there's a new sheriff in town. Photo by Carter Rose

The AT&T Performing Arts Center has a new boss: Warren Tranquada, currently an executive at the performing arts center in Newark, New Jersey, will serve as AT&T's new president and CEO.

Tranquada replaces Debbie Storey, who has been president and CEO since 2017. According to a release, he'll begin July 25.

Tranquada is executive VP and COO of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, which AT&T Performing Arts Center Board of Directors chairperson Danny Tobey hails as one of the top performing arts centers in the nation.

In a statement, Tranquada says he's eager to begin working with the team at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and its partners.

"Dallas has a national reputation as a thriving cultural hub, both for its vibrant Arts District and the diverse arts community throughout the city," Tranquada says.

Tranquada has been with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since 2009, playing roles in finance, ticketing, strategic planning, real estate development, new business development, special projects, fundraising, arts education planning, and more.

The facility has a $50-million-dollar annual budget as well as a national reputation for its programming, business model, and role as an economic catalyst for downtown Newark. (ATTPAC's budget by comparison is about $20 million.)

His boss, NJPAC president and CEO John Schreiber, says the AT&T Performing Arts Center couldn’t have made a better choice, calling Tranquada "a uniquely wise, thoughtful, creative, effective, and innovative leader," as well as a "genuine community- and consensus-builder."

Prior to NJPAC, he was a co-founder and partner with consulting firm Aperio in Newark and Toronto; a VP at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York; and an associate consultant with Bain & Company Canada in Toronto. He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in Montreal and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School, with a focus on nonprofit business structures and social-purpose investment vehicles.

In a statement, Tranquada says he sees "great potential for the future of the AT&T Performing Arts Center to build on its own tradition of being an anchor in the Arts District, and the city at large, and to deepen its impact for both residents and artistic organizations in this diverse and growing city."

Tranquada and his wife Alexine have three children. In his spare time he enjoys playing hockey, competing in triathlons, and enjoying all forms of the performing arts.

The AT&T Performing Arts Center is a nonprofit foundation operating and programing a 10-acre campus that includes the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, Annette Strauss Square, and Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park.

Storey announced her intention to step down in fall 2021. Her legacy includes leading the Center through the pandemic and leaving with a balanced budget. She worked to expand the Center's arts education and community engagement programs and reached a groundbreaking partnership with Broadway Dallas (formerly known as Dallas Summer Musicals).