Music business veteran Sally Williams has been named GM of Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. She succeeds G. Scott Walden, who is leaving to pursue other ventures. Walden will stay on as consultant through the end of the year and Williams will begin her new role on Dec. 1.
Williams, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the music business, most recently served as senior manager of event programming and development for the Country Music Association.
The Ryman post is a homecoming of sorts for Williams, who was employed by Gaylord sister company the Grand Ole Opry from 2000-2007 and by Opryland Productions prior to that.
"We are excited to welcome Sally back to the family," Steve Buchanan, executive VP of media and entertainment for Gaylord Entertainment, said in a prepared statement. "Sally's breadth of experience in producing events, booking talent, and artist relations will serve her well in this new position." Buchanan served as GM of the Ryman from 1994 through 1998.
Williams began her work in the industry as a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, buying talent and promoting shows at various university venues. Since then she has worked with a variety of promoters including Contemporary Productions (now Live Nation) in St. Louis and Jam Productions in Minneapolis. She also is a veteran of PACE Concerts (now Live Nation) where she served as site producer for Nashville River Stages and special events manager of Starwood Amphitheatre. Her diverse background in the entertainment business also includes several years of artist booking at the William Morris Agency in Nashville and Proton Productions in Minneapolis. Williams currently serves on the board of directors of the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) and is an alumnus of Leadership Music.
Williams is only the eighth GM in the Ryman's 117-year history and is the third woman to hold the post.