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New ABRSM chief executive Leslie East vows to improve infrastructure

7 March 2013

The new chief executive of ABRSM says he will continue the work of his predecessor in improving the organisation’s infrastructure, following last year’s 'major issues' with exams.

Leslie East, ABRSM’s former executive director of syllabus and publishing, was appointed as chief executive following the surprise resignation of Guy Perricone at the end of February. East was formerly director of music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and publishing director of Novello and Co. He has been at ABRSM since 1998.

He says his immediate concerns are to complete already planned investments in infrastructure systems to solve problems with exam correspondence and, working with Lincoln Abbotts, who has been promoted to the newly created post of director of strategic development, to 'look at the wider music education landscape, both in the UK and overseas.'

'ABRSM is about a lot more than exams,' he told MT. 'Over the next two months, we will be looking at, among other things, teacher support and working with the music services who are, of course, our life blood.'

East welcomed Abbotts's appointment to his new role, saying he had wide-ranging experience in music, education and broadcasting. He previously worked at the BBC and was chief executive for Music for Youth.

Staff, meanwhile, say they were 'surprised' by the resignation of Guy Perricone, who was unwell in the autumn but had since returned to work. He joined ABRSM after a career in banking and four years as director of London's Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Colette Bowe, chairman of ABRSM's governing body, said they were 'immensely grateful to Guy for all that he achieved with ABRSM during his leadership'. Perricone had been at ABRSM since 2009 and during his time there turnover increased from £36.5m to £43.6m and candidate numbers from 645,768 to 665,310.

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