Charleston Symphony Orchestra elects Robert Siedell as President of its Board of Directors

August 22, 2017

CHARLESTON, SC – At its August meeting the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Board of Directors thanked outgoing President, Cynthia Hartley, for her four and a half years of service and elected Robert Siedell as its new President. Hartley says, “Robert’s extensive business experience and work with other arts organizations make him uniquely qualified to take on the role of board chair for the CSO. With Robert’s leadership, along with the excellent board, staff members and talented musicians we currently have in place, the orchestra will surely prosper for years to come.”

A native of Dallas, Texas, Siedell received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Mississippi State University and a MBA from Harvard University. He began working in college administration followed by five years with AT&T in the United States, but spent the majority of his career in Asia with American Express International. Following functional leadership roles in servicing, operations, marketing and strategy development, he assumed progressively broader general management responsibilities. His most recent role, prior to retiring at the end of 2014 after 30 years with the company, was as President, American Express Japan and Head of the Japan/Australia-New Zealand region. Siedell is a member of the Wadmalaw Island Land Planning Committee, a partner with Social Venture Partners of Charleston, a student advisor at the College of Charleston, and a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church. He has served on the CSO Board since September 2016.

“I am both honored and excited to lead the Charleston Symphony Board. I look forward to working with our board, the orchestra’s artistic and administrative staff and CSO supporters throughout the community to continue to provide an outstanding resident orchestra for the Charleston area,” says Siedell.

In addition to Siedell, the CSO Board voted in Dr. Eddie Irions and David Allen as new Directors. Dr. Irions is a gastroenterologist with Charleston GI. Allen is an international business executive retired as the President and COO of GC America, a manufacturer and seller of professional dental preventative and restorative materials.


About Charleston Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1936, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is a cornerstone of the arts and cultural scene of Charleston, South Carolina, providing high-quality performances of symphonic and chamber music, as well as inspiring education and outreach programs. The Orchestra employs 24 full-time professional musicians. The CSO performs throughout the tri-county region, and at the newly renovated Gaillard Center. The CSO’s major concert series are the Masterworks, Pops, and Chamber Music. Programming is extensive and varied, spanning multiple periods and genres. In addition, CSO participates in community concerts, special events, and school programs throughout the state. Visit for more information.