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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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Liverpool’s Echo Arena to become M&S Bank Arena

Liverpool Arena, known as Echo Arena since it opened in 2008, is to become M&S Bank Arena from early next year.

The 11,000-capacity venue, part of the ACC Liverpool complex on the King’s Dock, has agreed a new naming-rights deal with the HBSC-owned retail bank, after a ten-year association with local paper the Liverpool Echo.

Bob Prattey, CEO of the ACC Liverpool Group, comments: “We’re incredibly excited to announce the launch of the M&S Bank Arena. It’s a fantastic way to conclude a phenomenal year that has seen us mark ten years since the arena first opened its doors.

“M&S Bank is one of the UK’s leading challenger banks, with a long-established history in the region. The business shares our passion for the city of Liverpool, making it the perfect naming partner for the arena, complementing the great partnership we already have in place with the Liverpool Echo, which will continue as a key business partner.”

Sue Fox, CEO of M&S Bank, adds: “M&S Bank has been based in the north-west since the business was formed in 1985. It has continued to evolve over this time to the full-service bank it is today, and our past, present and future are firmly rooted in the region.

“We’re extremely delighted to be a part of something incredibly special”

“We’re very much committed to supporting our local community, and over the last ten years we’ve seen the arena bring a phenomenal breadth of entertainment and cultural events to the city of Liverpool, delivering fantastic economic benefits to the city and the wider region. We’re extremely delighted to be a part of something incredibly special and look forward to the launch of the M&S Bank Arena early in 2019.”

Liverpool Arena has welcomed 5.6m visitors to more than 1,200 performances since 2008, with entertainment highlights including Sir Paul McCartney, the MTV EMAs featuring Beyoncé, the MOBO Awards and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

It unveiled a new 7,000-cap. live venue, dubbed Space, last summer.

“We are proud to have helped create something that all of Liverpool has taken to its heart,” says Echo editor Ali Machray. “The last ten years have seen the arena become an iconic venue. In that time the city has enjoyed spectacular growth and the Echo has powered ahead in digital media to underline its position among the best-known and most powerful regional media brands in the world.

“We will work closely with ACC Liverpool and M&S Bank to ensure the next ten years are as thrilling and successful as the last.”


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