By Andrew Patner

For Sun-Times Media

Whenever the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association finds a successor to former president Deborah F. Rutter, about to take leadership of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., that person will start with a clean slate in senior artistic management.

In addition to the leading role that a new top executive will play in artistic planning and emphases alongside the orchestra’s music director, Riccardo Muti, the new c.e.o. will need to recruit a new artistic vice-president to succeed Martha S. Gilmer who is leaving the CSO next month after 35 years to run the San Diego Symphony.

And Wednesday, the number three. CSOA administrator on artistic matters, Nick Winter, announced that after five and a half years in Chicago, he was headed west next month, too — to the San Francisco Symphony as their new artistic planning director.

Winter’s responsibilities in Chicago have included the MusicNOW series at the Harris Theater, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, including some union matters, and the CSO’s two chamber music series, at Orchestra Hall and across the street at the Art Institute of Chicago. He has worked with Civic Orchestra programming and co-directed the CSO’s Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition and Fellowship. The British Winter, a Russian speaker with a varied career in music management, was heavily involved in arrangements and logistics for the orchestra’s 2012 to Russia, and had paid special attention here to guest artists and vocal casting. This was Winter’s first job in the U.S.

In a letter to CSOA staff and musicians, Gilmer said that San Francisco, including its music director Michael Tilson Thomas, had actively recruited Winter. Mason Bates, one of the CSO’s two Mead composers-in-residence, who lives in the Bay Area, also has a close relationship with the California orchestra.

CSOA board chair Jay L. Henderson, who is acting as top manager in between full-time leaders, has said only that the search process for a new president is international, steady, and ongoing.