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While Cirque du Soleil celebrated its birthday throughout 2004, the year brought forth a couple of very interesting changes to the company’s operational structure: Guy Laliberté stepped down as company President. An internal memo obtained to all employees dated February 25, 2004 outlined this change, and more:

    First, the appointment of Daniel Lamarre as the new President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company, allowing Laliberté to virtually step back from the day-to-day operational responsibilities and focus more on the creative side of projects, which he said was the most dear to him. “This change comes at a time when Cirque is facing new business and organizational realities,” Laliberté said. With many new ventures on the drawing board, Laliberté will be busy. Laliberté will retain the title of Founder, CEO and “Guide”.

    The new role will be supported by five senior vice-presidents, including two recently created — Senior Vice-President of Shows, and Senior Vice-President of New Ventures). This change also merits a change to Cirque du Soleil’s Executive Board, which shall now consist of seven members — Guy Laliberté, Marc Gagnon, Michael Bolingbroke, Robert Blain, Eric Foumier and a position to be determined.

    The second profound statement in the memo is an announcement of the upcoming departure of Lyn Heward, President and COO of the Creative Content Division. Her slated departure is 2005; however, Heward is remaining on-board as an advisor until her replacement arrives. She will remain an Executive Board member until that time. “This year, Cirque is celebrating its 20th anniversary. When I look back on our accomplishments, I am proud of what I see. When I look ahead, I am confident that the future will take us still further. I wish Daniel the best of luck in his new role and I am counting on him and his team to support me as we pursue this incredible adventure.”

Lyn Heward’s loss would be felt in a number of profound ways, and though Daniel Lamarre proved to be more than competent at stewarding this rather large creative ship, other forces would weigh heavily on him and his charges.

Cirque presses on.

Celebrity Cruises unveils a unique concept of on-board entertainment developed by Cirque du Soleil on two of its cruise ships. This concept, called " the Bar at the Edge of the Earth" featured unique dining fare with a Cirque du Soleil flair.

Cirque also created and performed the special "Reflections in Blue" (Réflexions de bleu), a unique one-night water show as part of the opening ceremonies for the XI FINA World Aquatics Championships in Montreal, Canada. And the first touring show in three years is launched in Montreal. Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, the Italian-born director takes Cirque du Soleil through the funeral of a clown in Corteo. Cirque du Soleil Images films Corteo during its Toronto stop-over, later premiering on CBC/BRAVO and released onto DVD.

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