National Arts Centre

Christopher Deacon Becomes President and Chief Executive Officer


“Christopher Deacon is a champion of the performing arts in Canada. He’s got a proven record as a risk-taker and as an adventurous arts administrator leading highly ambitious projects.”
 Peter Herrndorf

After an extensive national search that began in November 2017, the Board of Trustees of the National Arts Centre today announced that Christopher Deacon will succeed Peter Herrndorf as President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization on June 12, 2018.   
Christopher Deacon, 59, was born in Montreal, Quebec. He has more than 35 years of professional experience managing orchestras, including 22 years as Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra. He is the first-ever person in the NAC’s 49-year history to be promoted from within the organization to become President and CEO.

“The NAC conducted a rigorous and disciplined search to find the best arts executive to lead Canada’s National Arts Centre,” said Adrian Burns, Chair of the Board of Trustees, who led the recruiting committee, comprised of four board members, two staff, an artist and two outside members. “We found the right person right here at the NAC to provide the vision and leadership necessary to guide the organization into its next half-century. Few people know the NAC as well as Christopher Deacon.”

Deacon has played an instrumental part of the outstanding executive leadership team during a period that saw the NAC achieve some of the greatest artistic successes in its storied history.

As the Managing Director of the NAC Orchestra, Christopher Deacon has led many of the Orchestra’s boldest initiatives in recent memory. They include the seven-city China Tour in 2013 that included eight concerts and 80 education events, as well as the 2014 UK Tour, the largest Canadian initiative overseas to mark the centenary of Canada’s entry into the First World War.

  • “The NAC is about storytelling and change-making through the arts, which inspires and strengthens Canadians, their communities and our national fabric. Christopher Deacon understands that. For as long as I’ve known him, he has enabled that mandate. He listens, connects, inquires, encourages, celebrates and builds. He’s a terrific choice for this position.”

    Dr. Susan Dyer Knight Memorial University’s Chancellor and Founder/Artistic Director Emerita of Newfoundland's Shallaway Youth Choir.
  • “Christopher has been able to transform and modernize the image of the NAC among Canada’s classical music community by growing its leadership role in innovative and creative ways.”

    Yannick Nézet-Séguin Music Director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra.
  • “His respect for the artists involved allowed all of us to venture fearlessly into this new artistic endeavour. He is a wonderful collaborator and will make an outstanding leader.”

    Donna Feore Renowned Canadian theatre director and choreographer noted for her work with the Stratford Festival, and Creative Producer and Stage Director of the NAC’s Life Reflected multimedia project.
  • “I have great respect for Christopher’s artistic vision. When Christopher called to tell me how the NAC wanted to tell the story of Amanda and other heroic women through Life Reflected, I thought ‘This is groundbreaking. What a brilliant idea.’ Right away I knew I wanted to be part of it.”

    Jocelyn Morlock Winner of the JUNO Award for the 2018 Classical Composition of the Year for her work for “My Name is Amanda Todd”
  • “In 2015, Christopher Deacon came to Eskasoni to meet our family and community members about I Lost my Talk. He was fearless. I was in awe of the whole project. It was as if the artists were all gentle warriors for my mother’s message of reconciliation. And I don’t think it could have happened without his leadership.”

    Ann Joe Daughter of the late Mi'kmaw poet and elder Rita Joe