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New COOs at UTA, Sphere Entertainment

Talent agency UTA and live entertainment company Sphere Entertainment have each announced new chief operating officers.

UTA has appointed Bob Roback, a veteran entertainment and tech entrepreneur and executive, as its new COO.

In joining the firm, Roback will also be a partner and join UTA’s board of directors. He takes over the COO role from Andrew Thau, who will continue as co-head of UTA Sports.

This week, Thau and Rich Paul, UTA Sports co-head and KLUTCH Sports founder, announced UTA’s acquisition of ROOF (Representatives Of Outstanding Footballers), a leading football agency representing top soccer players in Europe and beyond.

Roback will report to UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer and president David Kramer. As COO, his responsibilities include overall business operations and overseeing growth, strategy and technology, with a focus on efficiency and innovation, the agency said.

Roback’s career spans content, digital consumer services and consumer products, as well as business-to-business platforms and marketplaces. He spent seven years as CEO of Ingrooves Music Group, a tech-led music and marketing business acquired by Universal Music Group in 2019. Prior to that, Roback served as president and a member of the board of Fender Musical Instruments Corp. He also co-founded several companies, including Dashbox, The Media Farm and Launch Media, which became Yahoo Music.

“Throughout his accomplished career, Bob has built and led multiple businesses at the intersection of entertainment and technology, and he will be a valued partner at UTA as we help our clients thrive in an increasingly global and complex marketplace,” says Zimmer.

Roback adds: “I’ve long admired UTA’s dedication to its clients and ability to lead the way in defining what it means to be a global agency during a time of tremendous change and opportunity. I’m thrilled to be joining the company at this exciting time and look forward to shaping the future with UTA’s talented and ambitious team.”

“Bob will be a valued partner at UTA as we help our clients thrive in an increasingly global and complex marketplace”

Elsewhere, Sphere Entertainment Co has expanded Jennifer Koester’s role at the firm to president and COO. Koester most recently served as the company’s president, Sphere business operations, where she led the strategy and execution of all business aspects of Sphere, a futuristic $2.3 billion arena launched in Las Vegas in September 2023.

In the expanded role, Koester will continue working with executive leadership, and across the broader Sphere team, to grow the business and optimise its operations, said the firm.

Koester will now also provide strategic oversight for Sphere Studios – the immersive content studio in Burbank dedicated to developing multi-sensory experiences exclusively for Sphere – including further developing the Studios’ capabilities as a full-service production studio.

She will continue to focus on maximizing venue utilisation across a range of categories, such as original programming, attractions, concerts, residencies, and corporate and marquee events; driving strategic partnerships; delivering the best customer experience; and growing Sphere as a premium global brand.

“Since joining our team earlier this year, Jennifer’s contributions have had a significant impact,” says James Dolan, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Sphere Entertainment. “We believe we are just scratching the surface of what is possible with Sphere, and her expertise will be essential as we continue to advance on our long-term vision for this next-generation entertainment medium.”

“I welcome the opportunity to take on this expanded role,” says Koester. “Across the Sphere organisation we are focused on both bringing unique experiences to life in Las Vegas, and developing new experiences that will keep Sphere at the forefront of immersive entertainment. I look forward to continuing to work with our world-class team to grow our business and deliver on Sphere’s vision for the future of entertainment.”

A seasoned executive with 30 years of diverse experience in technology, media, and entertainment, Ms. Koester’s experience spans across functional areas including business development, marketing, technology, legal, and product management.

She joined Sphere Entertainment in February 2024 from Google, where she served as managing director, Americas Strategic Alliances, Global Partnerships.

She also previously served as director, telecommunications and video distributors, global partnerships at Google, where she was a key contributor to product strategy and roadmaps that delivered new revenue opportunities, including development and monetisation of advertising product lines. Her experience prior to Google includes serving as senior vice president of advanced advertising product development, data analytics and ad operations at Cablevision, as well as various legal positions.


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