Crystal Palace Park Trust CEO leaves weeks ahead of handover

Jurassic park: Crystal Palace is facing a period of significant change

Bill LoSasso, the chief exec of the Crystal Palace Park Trust for less than two years, has announced he is to step down from the role, just weeks before the handover from Bromley Council is due to be finally completed.

Quick change: Bill LoSasso was appointed as the Trust’s CEO in July 2021

Val Shawcross, the Trust’s former chair, will take over from the American as interim chief executive.

The formal announcement from CPPT this morning could not disguise the apparent shock in the decision for LoSasso to leave at this key juncture. No reason or explanation has been offered.

According to one source close to the situation, “It’s his own decision.”

Crystal Palace Park has heritage-listed status, as the grounds, terracing and former show grounds that surrounded Joseph Paxton’s Victorian wonder, the Crystal Palace, when it was transported to Sydenham after hosting the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851.

In more recent decades, after the park passed from the care of the GLC, it has struggled for investment under Bromley’s care, and the handover to the charitable-status trust this September is the result of years of planning and hard work.

The Trust’s business plan has seen an increasing number of big-ticket events, especially live concerts, being held in the park, raising revenue to pay for the venue’s upkeep and improvements. The stage at the Crystal Palace Bowl has already undergone extensive renovation and upgrade, and last weekend saw the park hosting the recording of an episode of BBC television’s Antiques Roadshow.

“It has been fulfilling to join an organisation so deeply committed to the community and rewarding to play this part in its growth,” LoSasso said in a written release.

“I am grateful to the board for its leadership and to the staff for their tremendous dedication and hard work. I know that I leave the Trust in excellent hands as Val continues her service to the organisation.”

It is little more than a year since Shawcross was standing to become Croydon’s first elected Mayor, which she lost narrowly, by fewer than 600 votes.

Interim: Val Shawcross

A former Deputy Mayor of London, Val Shawcross is an Upper Norwood resident with a 25-year involvement in campaigning to restore the park. A former Labour leader of Croydon Council, Shawcross was a London Assembly Member for 16 years.

“I’m thrilled to be working with the Trust and the communities in all five surrounding boroughs to treasure this wonderful park, to celebrate its past and make it a superb facility for the health and wellbeing of future generations,” Shawcross said today.

Martin Tempia, the Trust’s co-chair, said “Bill has done an excellent job preparing the Trust and park for its next phase.

“In addition to securing the park’s handover, he successfully implemented the Trust’s business model, allowing the Trust to begin delivering its charitable objectives, including community programming, capital improvements and small grants for ‘Friends of’ groups.

“We are thankful for his commitment the past two years and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”

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