Cliff Redd, executive director of the Long Center for the Performing Arts since 2004, announced Tuesday that he will retire.

Redd said his decision was mostly related to personal reasons.

"My intention was to get the center well-launched and keep all the promises that we made when we raised the money" to build the Long Center, Redd said. "And I couldn't be more pleased that we did that. Now is a good time for me retire."

He added that his partner, Rick Johnson, was seriously ill. "My family requires a great deal of attention right now," Redd said.

Redd, 59, suffered a mild heart attack in 2008 but said his health is fine and was not an issue in his decision.

Craig Hester, chairman of the Long Center board, said that managing director Paul Beutel has been appointed interim executive director effective immediately. The board will undergo a national search to fill Redd's position, Hester said.

"It's been an honor and privilege to work with Cliff," Hester said. "Cliff's energy and enthusiasm knows no bounds. There's no doubt in my mind that the Long Center wouldn't have been completed without him. The board owes him a great deal of thanks."

Hester said that in recognition of Redd's years of service, the board has named him executive director emeritus, a title he will hold in perpetuity.

Redd took the helm in July 2004 — a low point during a campaign to build a civic performing arts center that started in the early 1990s. In January 2004, Long Center officials announced that they planned to downsize the project from the original $125 million four-venue complex and instead build a $77 million two-theater space. At the time, only $59.6 million was in place.

Bringing more than 30 years of experience as an arts leader in Dallas, Redd amped up the Long Center's fundraising record, surpassing the $77 million goal. When the center opened in March 2008, about $82.5 million had been raised.

The primary performance venue for the Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Austin and host to other local and traveling shows, the Long Center has a $4 million annual budget.

jvanryzin@statesman.com; 445-3699