Venue management company SMG Europe has been appointed to run the existing Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) ahead of a move to its new purpose-built home in 2019.

Aberdeen City Council officially signed a contract to hand current management responsibilities to the firm following last year’s announcement that SMG Europe had been awarded preferred bidder status to manage, operate and programme the new £333m (€390m/$415m) complex.

The new venue will include a 12,500-capacity arena with a moveable stage, hospitality boxes and club lounge, 50,000 square metres of flexible exhibition space, a conference centre, three hotels and an energy centre.

The AECC renovation project is forecast to generate 600 new jobs during the construction period, contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113m of visitor spend and £63m net gross value added to the Scottish economy by 2025.

It is also the key element of Aberdeen City Council’s £1bn transformational infrastructure and culture plans to grow the city’s economy.

SMG Europe is the UK’s largest arena venue manager and operates Manchester Arena, First Direct Arena Leeds and Metro Radio Arena Newcastle, as well as a number of theatres and smaller venues.

Internationally the group is the biggest exhibition and convention centre manager with properties including McCormick Place in Chicago, Moscone Centre in San Francisco and the NRG Centre in Houston.

John Sharkey, SMG’s executive vice-president of European operations, said: “SMG’s expertise in driving multi-purpose exhibition, conference and entertainment content is second to none and we’re delighted to bring this portfolio of experience, international industry contacts and innovative thinking to both the existing and new AECC.”