Noel Barnes named new CFO of Woodruff Arts Center

By Maria Saporta

The Woodruff Arts Center has named a new chief financial officer — Noel M. Barnes. The announcement was made Monday by Virginia Hepner, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center.

Barnes most recently served as the chief administrative officer for Edge Capital Partners LLC in Atlanta. Edge provides investment advisory and banking services to individuals, foundations and corporate clients.

Prior to that role, Mr. Barnes served as chief financial officer for Rotunda Corp. (formerly EzGov Inc), a software solutions company that provides software and professional services to federal, state and local governments. He began his finance career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen in Atlanta.

Barnes has degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University in economics and accounting respectively and is a regular patron of the Woodruff Arts Center.

Last year, the Woodruff Arts Center disclosed that it had been a victim of fraud from an employee within the organization.

In April, Ralph Clark, who began working at the Center in 2004, pleaded guilty to having embezzled $1.1 million from the arts organization. He had first begun working at the Center as a heating and air conditioning mechanic and then he had been promoted to a position where he could defraud the Center through issuing invoices.

The announcement from the Woodruff Arts Center did not address whether the naming of Barnes was related to the incidence of fraud or the organization’s internal accounting controls, but spokesman Randy Donaldson said the two were not connected.

Donaldson also said that Stephen Merz, who had been the Center’s chief financial officer since 2001, retired last year after 32 years with the organization.

“Noel is a wonderful addition to the Woodruff leadership team,” Hepner said. “He has demonstrated his ability to create strong and efficient operating environments in his past roles, and has a strong focus on controls and teambuilding. He will bring those strengths to the Woodruff as we continue to build our management capability in support of the great art of the Center.”

Barnes joins Janine Musholt, vice president of advancement, and Ed Brownlee, director of facilities, as new members of the senior leadership team of the Woodruff Arts Center.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join Virginia and the leadership team at the Woodruff Arts Center and to build upon the center’s history as a beacon of excellence in the arts,” Barnes said in the release. “I look forward to working with them to support that great legacy.”

Hepner became president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center on July 1, 2012.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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