The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced today that Cynthia Rider, managing director of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, will succeed Paul Nicholson as executive director when the latter retires in December after 17 years at the helm.

Rider has been managing director at Kansas City Rep since 2009. Before that, she served as the organization's associate director for advancement and administration for five years, according to an OSF press release.

She helped raise more than $7 million for a capital/endowment campaign to inaugurate the Rep's second stage, re-branding of the theatre under Artistic Director Eric Rosen. Her experience also includes six years as executive director of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

OSF Board President Rudd Johnson said Rider's intelligence and drive are the perfect mix for the job, according to the release.

“Cynthia's qualities as a fundraiser, administrator, financial steward and charismatic leader brought her to the forefront of a strong pool of candidates,” Johnson said.

Rider was chosen after an international search conducted by the OSF board with support and guidance of Management Consultants for the Arts.

“There's no doubt in my mind that Cynthia is the perfect person for this vitally important position,” OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch said in the release.

“Her lifelong passion for the theatre was apparent from the moment we first met, and she already has a deep respect for the history and current work of OSF and our profound relationship with the audience.”

Johnson said Rider is expected to join the company full-time in early December, which will provide time for a period of transition while working in conjunction with Paul Nicholson. Rider's husband and daughter will be joining her in Ashland, while her son starts his freshman year at University of Kansas.