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ASM Global ups Alex Merchán to CMO

ASM Global has promoted LA-based industry veteran Alex Merchán to the position of chief marketing officer.

Merchán, who will oversee the venue giant’s global portfolio, was most recently EVP of marketing, and will spearhead the company’s branding and positioning across key areas including global partnerships, digital and CRM strategy, business development, and advisory and investing efforts.

“In less than one year with our company, Alex has been responsible for reimagining our marketing support infrastructure while simultaneously dramatically enhancing our network’s external initiatives for our clients and partners,” says ASM president and CEO Ron Bension.

Since joining ASM, Merchán has also overseen all strategic marketing, PR, creative services and digital efforts. He has been instrumental in the execution and implementation of the company’s strategic partnership with experience management leader Qualtrics to create an in-depth data and analytics platform for live events, offering “unprecedented” industry insights into fan sentiments, needs and habits.

“This is the thrill of a lifetime. The biggest sandbox in the world and the opportunity to engage with fans across entertainment, sports and business”

He has also actively been involved with ASM Global’s CSR’s Global Acts commitment to sustainability, community and DEI efforts.

“This is the thrill of a lifetime,” adds Merchán. “The biggest sandbox in the world and the opportunity to engage with fans across entertainment, sports and business. That’s what our marketing team gets to work in — with the most prestigious collection of venues on Earth. That means we know the rules of the game better than anyone else, and we play it better than anyone else.”

Prior to his time at ASM Global, Merchán oversaw marketing for Live Nation’s Clubs & Theatres division following a decade-long stint at Hard Rock International.

“Steve’s expertise in food and beverage, on a global-brand-scale makes him an incredibly exciting addition to the team”

In addition, ASM has bolstered its UK senior leadership team with the appointment of Stephen Cooper as VP of food & beverage. Cooper will work alongside the venue teams in the UK to develop new food and beverage solutions for all retail and premium areas.

“It is fantastic to have Steve join the ASM Global team, which continues to see exciting and fast-paced growth,” says Chris Bray, EVP of ASM Global Europe. “Steve’s expertise in food and beverage, on a global-brand-scale makes him an incredibly exciting addition to the team. Food and beverage at all of our venues is a fundamental and evolving part of the customer journey, and as it continues to adapt, grow and move with industry trends and customer behaviours. I am confident that Steve and his team will drive this critical aspect of our business forwards .”

Cooper adds: “I am thrilled to be joining ASM at this exciting time of growth and investment. The opportunity to work alongside the wonderful venue teams to help deliver inspirational, innovative, and memorable events across a diverse and expanding portfolio is a privilege. The passion for excellence in the ASM team is a culture that I have long admired, and I am excited to now be a part of it.”

 


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ASM Global appoints new Olympia London CEO

ASM Global has named Julie Driscoll as the new CEO of Olympia London.

Driscoll brings 25 years of B2C and B2B experience, is currently the divisional MD for retail, manufacturing and engineering at exhibition and conference organiser Hyve Group.

Driscoll, who starts at ASM next month, is also chair of the Association of Exhibition Organisers (AEO) and board member of the Events Industry Alliance.

“I am thrilled to be joining Olympia London under the management of ASM Global,” says Driscoll, who plans to step down from her AEO role. “For 136 years Olympia London has been the home of inspirational events. In partnership with the venue’s owners, Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, I very much look forward to working with the wonderful Olympia London team, to position the venue as a world class destination for the next 100 years.”

The £1.3 billion redevelopment of Olympia, which will be completed in 2024, includes a 4,400-cap live music venue, a 1,575-seat performing arts theatre, a school for the creative arts, restaurants, bars and eateries; two hotels and offices, with ASM taking on management responsibility for the venue’s exhibitions and events business.

“Julie has an ambitious vision for Olympia London, an eye for operational excellence”

“We are delighted to welcome Julie to the ASM Global team,” says Chris Bray, EVP of ASM Global Europe. “Julie has an ambitious vision for Olympia London, an eye for operational excellence, and joins us with exceptional experience as a highly skilled entrepreneurial leader, working successfully with renowned brands and some of the UK’s biggest trade events. We are confident that Julie will bring enormous value, drive growth and lead Olympia London towards a tremendously exciting future.”

Olympia London’s MD Nigel Nathan will remain in a consultancy role for three months to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

“I am so proud to have worked with such an amazing and passionate team at Olympia London for the last 23 years,” adds Nathan. “We’ve achieved so much together. Finding the right person to lead our glorious venue into its exciting future was vital. Julie brings impressive experience from across the events industry, and a strong vision for how to build upon Olympia London’s heritage of hosting events that have helped drive the economy and delighted millions of visitors for the last 136 years.”

Olympia’s music venue, located above the existing west exhibition hall, will be operated by live entertainment giant AEG Presents, which signed a ‘long-term agreement’ with Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International, who acquired Olympia in 2017 for €330m.

 


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Manchester’s AO Arena to undergo £50m revamp

ASM Global has announced a £50 million plan to transform Manchester’s AO Arena.

The three-year phased development, which will begin this summer, will dramatically enhance the 21,000-cap venue, expanding its infrastructure while adding innovative guest features. Further details will be released in the coming months.

The 27-year-old arena has a string of sell-out concerts lined up for 2022, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg and George Ezra.

“The first phase will enhance and increase our standing floor capacity”

“AO Arena is one of the world’s iconic venues and a much-loved part of Manchester’s rich culture and history,” says Chris Bray, EVP Europe at ASM Global. “It has been delivering world class entertainment experiences for over two decades. As we approach our 30th anniversary, this ambitious endeavour will not only reinforce its position as a leading destination for live entertainment but will extend its market leadership for ‘live’ and fan experiences for the next 30 years, and we’re proud to be further investing into the heart of Manchester.

“The first phase will enhance and increase our standing floor capacity to share this historic arena with even more of our guests and we will also be adding new hospitality lounges and investing in delivering an upgraded concourse experience. Our performers will be immersed in an all-new back of house artists campus, unparalleled anywhere.”

Additional major developments will include brand-new arena entrances, specially tailored premium experiences, custom designed lounges, and new premium seating.

“This will not only elevate the experience for guests and fans, but for everyone who sets foot in the venue”

AO Arena’s back of house will also be upgraded with a complete overhaul of the backstage experience, including new artist dressing rooms and production areas, a “world-class” green room with meet and greet facilities, an overhaul of crew catering, and first-class connectivity and technology.

“This is a really exciting time for the AO Arena,” adds recently appointed general manager Jen Mitchell. “Not only are we able to welcome guests back after a challenging two years, with a programme packed full of world-class acts and entertainment; now we can reveal the first phase of ASM Global’s plans for the arena’s redevelopment. This will not only elevate the experience for guests and fans, but for everyone who sets foot in the venue, including artists, production, crew and our staff who work so hard to make the magic happen right here in Manchester.”

AO Arena is set to face competition in the city from Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live, which is scheduled to open in 2023.

 


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ASM Global hires Chris Bray as EVP, Europe

ASM Global has named 30-year veteran Chris Bray as its new EVP of European operations.

Bray who will be based in Manchester, UK, has a background in commercial, operations, entertainment and strategic development within the high-street retail, leisure and hospitality industries.

For the past six years, Bray has served as CEO for sports and leisure, UK & Ireland at global contract catering and facilities management company Sodexo.

“Chris has been responsible for a business portfolio tasked with delivering exceptional experiences at some of the most prestigious sporting and event locations across the UK such as Ascot Racecourse, Chelsea Flower Show, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Newcastle United FC, as well as the National Gallery and other iconic day visitor experiences across the country,” says ASM Global president and CEO Ron Bension.

It’s an exciting time to be joining ASM Global as it accelerates its growth ambitions across the globe

“We’re confident that he will execute tremendous value creation, organic growth and new business initiatives.”

The move forms part of the venue management giant’s ongoing European expansion plans.

“It’s an exciting time to be joining ASM Global as it accelerates its growth ambitions across the globe,” says Bray. “Recent wins in Europe including Newcastle Gateshead Quays, Derby Arena, Cantu Arena and Södra Teatern are testament to the exceptional capabilities of our European teams and the confidence that our clients have in our ability to deliver innovative services and world-class live experiences for their guests.

“I am really looking forward to working with the teams to build upon the great work they have done.”

Bray succeeds John Sharkey, whose departure was announced in May. Sharkey joined ASM predecessor SMG in 2014 and was appointed ASM Global’s EVP for Europe in late 2019, following the completion of the merger between SMG and AEG Facilities.

The move comes days after the firm confirmed Jason Oberlander as chief commercial officer and made two new hires to its programming department.

Within Europe, ASM Global’s flagship venues include AO Arena in Manchester, Avicii Arena, Tele2 Arena and Friends Arena in Sweden and Koenig Pilsner Arena in Germany, which will become Rudolf Weber Arena in January 2022.

 


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