ANTHONY Sargent, general director of The Sage Gateshead, has taken on a prestigious new role which he describes as a ringing endorsement of the North East institution.
He has become chairman of the International Society of the Performing Arts (ISPA) which represents more than 400 performing arts leaders from more than 50 countries.
Mr Sargent was elected to the post in 2011 but takes it up this year and will hold it until January 2016.
He said: “The Sage Gateshead is only eight years old and this invitation is a ringing endorsement by our international peers of the contribution the Sage is already making on the world stage, and of the high reputation our truly extraordinary management and staff team have won with their colleagues around the globe.”
ISPA was founded in 1949 and provides support, information and development opportunities for members including some of the world’s major arts organisations.
The current board includes high- profile representatives from the United States, China, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Poland, the UK, the Netherlands and South Korea.
Mr Sargent joined The Sage Gateshead in 2000 after holding senior roles with the BBC, London’s Southbank Centre and Birmingham City Council.
As the founding general director of the Sage, Mr Sargent was responsible for leading the launch of the building, which opened in December 2004.
Since then it has welcomed more than five million visitors and contributed over £200m – four times its construction cost – to the regional economy
Mr Sargent is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an honorary fellow of the Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Sunderland.
In 2008 he and Sir Bobby Robson were joint recipients of the coveted Hotspur Award, given annually by the Northumbrian Association to the person judged to have contributed most to the development of the North East.