High-profile South Australian business leader Kate Costello has been appointed as the new Chair of Adelaide Fringe, commencing 4 August 2020. Ms Costello is a professional non-executive director with more than 30 years’ experience across a number of prominent local and national companies. She brings extensive skills in strategy, governance and commercial law. Ms Costello succeeds longstanding Chair, Mr David Minear, who has finished up after a highly successful six years in the role. Mr Minear also spent a year on the Board prior to his appointment as Chair.
“I’m extremely honoured to be appointed as the new Chair of Adelaide Fringe,” Ms Costello said. “Fringe is an iconic Adelaide and international institution, and I look forward to further building upon the continued success and exceptional growth of this transformative festival – now and into the future. Our immediate plan inevitably will be to concentrate on the delivery of a memorable and successful Fringe in 2021, despite the challenges of COVID-19. After that, we hope to have the luxury of developing a longer-term view. David has chaired the organisation through a period of unparalleled success. He was much admired by management and staff and all who dealt with him. He will be missed.”
Ms Costello was previously Managing Director of Governance Matters, which she sold in 2017. Prior to that, she obtained a law degree from the University of Melbourne and worked in management at a commercial law firm. With national and international experience as a Consultant and a Director, Ms Costello currently Chairs LBT Innovations Ltd (ASX LBT) – the first company in the world to achieve USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a product utilising artificial intelligence. She is a Director of Whittles Management Services Pty Ltd, and has been on the Board of Adelaide Fringe since 2019.
Outgoing Chair David Minear said after six years as Chair he felt the time was right to hand over the reins.
“I am a strong believer in Board rejuvenation,” he said. “This is particularly relevant to a major entertainment and arts event like Adelaide Fringe. It’s important that the creativity of Fringe continues to change and evolve. I have loved every minute of my time with Fringe – it’s been an immense privilege. But it’s now time for a new Chair and new energy. Kate is fantastic and she has all the credentials. I know she will succeed.”
Mr Minear said the overall growth of the Fringe over the past six years and its increased economic benefit to South Australia was one of the things he was most pleased about during his tenure.
“The 2020 Adelaide Fringe delivered a record $96.7 million in gross economic expenditure to the South Australian economy,” he said. “Back in 2014, that figure was $66.3 million. There been a solid increase in Fringe-related tourism from interstate and overseas, and ticket sales growth has also been dynamic. This year, 853,419 tickets were sold delivering a box office of $21 million. Our decision to invest in a very robust digital ticketing and communication platform back in 2016 has also been a strong contributor to these results.”
Mr Minear said he felt a great sense of pride for the exceptional team built within Adelaide Fringe.
“The current Board is outstanding, and we have a highly passionate and dedicated CEO and a committed team throughout,” he said. “The Adelaide Fringe belongs to the people of Adelaide and South Australia and I look forward to witnessing the magic of this event unfold in the years to come.”
Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall commended Mr Minear on his service and congratulated Kate on her appointment.
“David has been a major driver behind the success of Adelaide Fringe in recent years and his era as Chair will be remembered as a truly brilliant chapter for the Adelaide Fringe,” Ms Croall said. “David is a highly-respected and dedicated leader with a true passion for the arts and we are all grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a dynamic Chair. David’s contribution to the growth of Fringe since 2014 has been nothing short of phenomenal. I thank him for his commitment, energy and outstanding service.
“We warmly welcome Kate Costello to the role as Chair. Kate brings exceptional experience and great vision and I look forward to working with her closely to deliver a wonderful Fringe program in 2021.”
Adelaide Fringe is the highest ticket selling arts festival in Australia, the biggest festival in the Southern Hemisphere, and the second-largest Fringe in the world. The 2021 Festival will be held from 19 February to 21 March.