Following a unanimous decision at its June 8 meeting, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Board of Trustees has named Hassan Salem Chair-elect of the Board. He will succeed Martin Semple July 1, 2022 as the fourth Chairman in the organization’s 44-year-history.
Salem and his wife, Sheila, have been patrons and donors of the DCPA since coming to Denver. He joined the Board in 2014 and now chairs the organization’s capital campaign, which is responsible for raising $17M of a $36M capital improvement project. Additionally, he also sits on the DCPA’s Executive Committee; Governance, People, and Culture Committee, and Co-Chairs the Development Committee.
As Head of Commercial Banking for U.S. Bank, Salem’s involvement with the DCPA solidifies an 18-year collaboration between one of the nation’s largest commercial banking institutions and one of the nation’s largest non-profit theatre organizations.
“Hassan has been an active, dedicated member of the DCPA family for 28 years,” said current Chairman Martin Semple. “Similar to his career path from bank teller to Head of Commercial Banking, Hassan’s natural progression at the DCPA from patron and donor to Trustee and ultimately Chairman, reflects the commitment he feels to this organization. I could not be more delighted to have him take on this important role.”
An aspiring soccer player-turned-banker, Salem may have never seen himself as Chairman of an arts organization, “but once my wife introduced me to theatre, I was hooked,” said Salem. “I really fell in love with live performance and it became an important part of our family culture.”
“Now, with the completion of the Bonfils Theatre Complex renovation and the resumption of programming later this year, the DCPA has the opportunity to connect more deeply with our growing and increasingly diverse community,” continued Salem. “My father instilled in me the value of hard work, surrounding yourself with good people, and connecting with and caring for your community. Those values perfectly epitomize the DCPA’s talents, core values and efforts to make meaningful connections through the power of live theatre. I could not be more excited to be part of that energy.”
A career-long veteran of U.S. Bank, Salem began as a teller with then-Colorado National Bank before increasing his responsibilities in the Consumer and Business Banking and Commercial Banking divisions within the bank, ultimately being promoted to Head of Commercial Banking in 2020. Today, Hassan’s group provides a range of U.S. Bank products and services to middle market companies with annual sales between $25 million and $1 billion.
In addition to his banking responsibilities and involvement with the DCPA, Salem is a board member for Delta Dental of Colorado and Colorado Concern. He is an executive committee member of Colorado Succeeds and a Trustee for the Denver Area Council of Boy Scouts of America. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Arizona with minors in communications and political science. He is also a graduate of the 2004 Leadership Denver program and a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.
Salem comes to the DCPA as the fourth Chairman in its 44-year history. His predecessors were DCPA attorney and Founder Donald R. Seawell (1979-2006); businessman and education champion Daniel L. Ritchie (2007-2017), and attorney Martin Semple (2017-2022). Under their leadership, the Denver Center has had many notable accomplishments through its six distinct lines of programming:
- DCPA Theatre Company — Tony-winning company that produces an 8-10 season of original productions, including more than 160 new works (twenty50, The Great Leap, The Book of Will, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Sense & Sensibility The Musical, TANTALUS, The Whale)
- DCPA Broadway — preferred stop on the Broadway touring circuit including more than a dozen national tour launches (The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, If/Then, Pippin) and the pre-Broadway debuts of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Frozen
- DCPA Cabaret — intimate, casual entertainment featuring shows including Denver’s longest-running cabaret hit, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
- DCPA Off-Center — a theatrical testing ground that develops innovative, participatory programming both on- and off-site (Camp Christmas, The Wild Party, Sweet & Lucky)
- DCPA Education — statewide educational programs that serve more than 140,000 students annually through an annual Theatre for Young Audience performance, acting classes, in-school workshops, in-theatre fieldtrips and audience engagement programs
- DCPA Event Services — premier rental venues that utilize theatrical innovation to capture the imagination of guests in lobbies, theatres, the Directors Room and the Seawell Ballroom.
“As a Trustee, business leader, corporate partner and theatre patron, Hassan has been committed to all aspects of the DCPA for nearly three decades,” said DCPA President & CEO Janice Sinden. “His leadership of our capital campaign has ensured that our artists have the ability to unleash their creativity, our patrons have an unparalleled theatrical experience, and our community has a place to engage with and be inspired by the power of live performance.
“Working with Hassan, Martin, our dedicated board and our devoted team members, we are prepared to recover from the past year and reemerge resilient and ready to reconnect with our community,” Sinden continued. “With a renewed commitment to our core values, the anticipation of bold new productions, and new leadership, we want to engrain this organization into the very fabric of our community — both locally and throughout the American theatre. We’re ready!”