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M&S Bank Arena Liverpool CEO steps down

Bob Prattey, chief executive of the ACC Liverpool Group, has announced he is stepping aside after 16 years at the helm of the company.

Under his leadership, the Liverpool, UK, event campus – comprising ACC Liverpool, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the 11,000-capacity M&S Bank Arena (formerly Echo Arena), has hosted over 3,000 events, welcomed more than eight million visitors and delivered an economic impact to the city of almost £2 billion.

Prattey was appointed ACC CEO in 2005 and launched the arena and convention centre in 2008. He continued to oversee the expansion of the business with the subsequent addition of Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the Pullman hotel in 2015, as well as attracting some of the biggest events in Europe. He will step aside at the end of March, succeeded on an interim basis by deputy CEO Faye Dyer.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to lead the ACC Liverpool Group for the past 16 years,” says Prattey. “I believe that this venue campus is amongst the premier league of European venues and has further enhanced the city’s reputation as a leading visitor destination. Since opening in 2008, we have attracted major international artists and global organisations and have reinforced Liverpool’s position as one of the most exciting cities in Europe.

“I have had time to reflect over the past 12 months and this feels like the right moment for both me personally and for the company to step aside and pass on the baton of leadership.

“While the last 12 months have undoubtedly been the hardest for all businesses in the events industry, I have been proud to lead the team through this unprecedented period. I have been amazed, but not surprised, by the resilience and determination shown by my team here at the ACC Liverpool Group, as well as our clients across all sectors and the entire industry, which has come together like never before.”

“We have a strong and committed senior leadership team and I am honoured to have been entrusted with Bob’s legacy”

Dyer takes up the role of interim managing director from 1 April 2021 and will be responsible for leading the business through the Covid-19 recovery phase, alongside events and operations director Kerry Mulloy and commercial director Ben Williams.

ACC Liverpool Group chair Max Steinberg CBE explains: “After careful consideration and planning, we have taken the decision to move to an interim leadership structure for a 12-month period to allow us to provide continuity for the business at a time when we will be focused on recovery and providing stability for our staff and our clients.

“I am pleased to welcome Faye to her new role as interim managing director and look forward to supporting her as she leads the business through this next phase of our journey.”

Dyer joined the ACC Liverpool Group in 2019 as corporate services director and deputy chief executive, following eight years at the Manchester Central convention centre complex.

“I am looking forward to taking up my position as interim managing director in April and leading the ACC Liverpool Group through our Covid-19 recovery plans as this remarkable industry gets back on its feet,” she comments.

“We have a strong and committed senior leadership team and I am honoured to have been entrusted with Bob’s legacy and to lead the team alongside Kerry and Ben through this next phase.”

 


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The show will go on for Echo Arena after fire

Echo Arena has confirmed its events programme will proceed as planned following the fire in its car park on new year’s eve.

The blaze broke out in the Liverpool Waterfront car park, adjacent to the arena, on 31 December during the final performance of the Liverpool International Horse Show. A total of 1,305 vehicles were in the multi-storey car park, which remains closed until further notice, when the fire broke out.

“We can confirm that our future events will be able to proceed as planned following the serious fire which was contained in the Liverpool Waterfront car park on new year’s eve,” says Bob Prattey, chief executive of arena operator ACC Liverpool Group. “We will continue to communicate with all our clients who are organising forthcoming conferences, exhibitions and entertainment events, as well as customers and delegates.

 

“We are sorry to … those people whose vehicles were in the car park and who have been affected by this terrible situation”

Fast and Furious Live preview performances will take place as planned at the 11,00-cap. arena next Thursday and Friday (11 and 12 January), followed by Celebrating Sgt Pepper: Live on 13 January.

“We are sorry to customers who were due to attend the evening performance of the Liverpool International Horse Show, which was cancelled as a result of the fire, as well as those people whose vehicles were in the car park and who have been affected by this terrible situation,” adds Prattey.

“We are extremely thankful to the emergency services for their efforts. We would also like to thank the people who kindly provided transport for customers to enable them to travel home, as well as Liverpool City Council for establishing a relief centre for those needing shelter.”

ACC Liverpool Group posted a 50% increase in turnover, to £25.8 million, in 2016–17.

 


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Echo Arena thanks emergency services after car park fire

Liverpool’s Echo Arena has offered its thanks to the city’s emergency services, volunteers and the British Red Cross for their assistance after a fire at its car park destroyed an estimated 1,400 vehicles.

The fire tore through the multi-storey King’s Dock car park on new year’s eve, when the 11,000-capacity arena was hosting the fourth day of the Liverpool International Horse Show. An accidental fire in one car which spread to other vehicles is believed to have been the cause, according to police.

The show was cancelled and all horses evacuated, with a relief centre set up nearby by Liverpool city council for those unable to get home. Despite the damage, an arena spokesperson confirmed all people and horses are safe and that “there were no injuries during this terrible incident”.

“We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding while investigations continue”

Owners of the destroyed vehicles should contact their insurance companies, Merseyside police said.

“We are sorry to customers who were due to attend the evening performance of the Liverpool International Horse Show, which was cancelled as a result of the fire, as well as those people whose vehicles were in the car park and who have been affected by this situation,” the venue says in a statement. “We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding while investigations continue.

“We are extremely thankful to the emergency services for their efforts. We would also like to thank the people who kindly provided transport for customers to enable them to travel home, as well as Liverpool city council for establishing a relief centre for those needing shelter.

 


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Echo Arena Liverpool unveils new live venue, Space

Echo Arena Liverpool is to begin hosting live events in the neighbouring Exhibition Centre Liverpool, doubling its floor space and increasing capacity by up to 7,000.

The 8,100m² Exhibition Centre, opened in 2015, will be transformed into ‘Space by Echo Arena Liverpool’, hosting a larger number of concerts, sports events and other live entertainment alongside its existing slate of exhibitions and conferences.

The new set-up creates the “only purpose-built interconnected arena, convention and exhibition centre in Europe”, says operator ACC Liverpool Group. The first event under the Space by Echo Arena Liverpool banner will be announced later this week; the last gigs in the old exhibition centre will be Gary Numan on Thursday (27 July) and Brian Wilson the following night.

“This new configuration highlights the flexibility and versatility of our campus”

Ben Williams, ACC Liverpool’s newly appointed commercial director, comments: “Space by Echo Arena Liverpool is the latest addition to our suite of live event layouts and complements Echo Arena [11,000-cap.], EchoTwo [4,000-cap.] and The Auditorium Liverpool [1,350-cap.].

“Using the halls either separately or in combination will enable us to host many more visitors all on one level – we currently host up to 3,600 people on the floor of the arena for gigs, but this can now be almost doubled in Space by Echo Arena Liverpool.

“This new configuration highlights the flexibility and versatility of our campus. We can comfortably host simultaneous events in Echo Arena, BT Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre Liverpool, ranging from entertainment to conferences to banqueting to exhibitions.”

A rendering of the new space is below:

Space at Echo Arena Liverpool

 


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New commercial director for ACC Liverpool Group

Ben Williams has been appointed commercial director of ACC Liverpool, the UK venues and ticketing group that includes Echo Arena (11,000-cap.), BT Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and ticket agency TicketQuarter.

Williams joins from SMG Europe’s First Direct Arena in Leeds, where as general manager he led the team that launched the venue in 2013. He was previously commercial and marketing director at Manchester Arena, also operated by SMG.

“Having worked in the events industry for many years, I am aware of the incredible journey that The ACC Liverpool Group has been on since it opened in 2008,” he comments. “I look forward to bringing my experience of working in large venues and contributing to the continued development of the organisation.”

“This is an exciting time for The ACC Liverpool Group”

ACC Liverpool also recently announced the appointment of former Liverpool FC CEO Ian Ayre as chairman of the board.

“This is an exciting time for The ACC Liverpool Group, with two new senior appointments,” adds ACC chief executive Bob Prattey. “Ben brings with him a wealth of industry experience, and we have no doubt that he will be an integral part of our organisation across our portfolio of markets: international and national conferences, entertainment and sport, exhibitions and ticketing.

“Next year marks a decade since we opened our doors and we are confident that Ben will be a welcome addition to our talented team.”

Upcoming shows at the Echo Arena include Bruno Mars, The Vamps, Al Stewart, Bob Dylan and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in concert.

 


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