Former Visa CEO Scharf Named Chairman of New York City Ballet

  • Scharf takes over after death of former chairman Jay Fishman
  • The ballet is largest dance organization in the U.S.

Charlie Scharf, the former chief executive officer of Visa Inc., was named chairman of the New York City Ballet, the largest dance organization in the U.S.

Scharf succeeds Jay Fishman, the former Travelers Cos. CEO who died in August, the ballet said in a statement on Wednesday. Scharf, 51, resigned from San Francisco-based Visa at the end of November to be closer to family on the East Coast.

Amy and Charlie Scharf at a 2015 state dinner at the White House.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“Ever since growing up I’ve been a big lover of the arts in general, and particularly the performing arts.” Scharf said in a telephone interview. The ballet is “a very well run organization both fiscally and artistically,” he added.

The New York City Ballet is a nonprofit dance company founded by George Balanchine and based at Lincoln Center. During his tenure, Fishman was instrumental in helping the ballet cut costs and boost revenue from ticket sales and fundraising. It posted an operating deficit between 2003 and 2011, according to annual reports on its website. Since 2012, the year Fishman took over as chairman, it has broken even or generated surpluses.

Scharf joins actress Sarah Jessica Parker and former Xerox Corp. CEO Ursula Burns on the ballet’s board, which will have 65 members. He’s been a member of Microsoft Corp.’s board since 2014, and previously served on Travelers board with Fishman and Robert Lipp, president of ballet’s board. Scharf said he’s enjoying being back on the East Coast, and doesn’t feel pressure to pursue other full-time work.

Spring performances begin April 18 at the David H. Koch Theater.

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