People on the move: FIFA, ASM Global and more

Featured image credit: Gianni Infantino / ©UNIS Vienna/Nikoleta Haffar / CC BY 2.0

Our round-up of the latest appointments within the stadium ecosystem…

Gianni Infantino is to continue as FIFA president for another four-year term after no other candidate put their name forward.

More than 200 member associations officially backed Infantino, whose new tenure will be officially confirmed at the FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2023. The Swiss-Italian became FIFA president in 2016, following Sepp Blatter’s resignation, and was re-elected in 2019.

“I would like simply to put on record my big thanks for the over 200 Member Associations of FIFA, all the six confederations who have supported me,” Infantino said. “I feel humbled and honoured to be able to serve the global football community for the next four years.”

ASM Global has promoted Alex Merchán to chief marketing officer, with Stephen Cooper named vice-president of food and beverage in the UK.

In his new role, Merchán, whose most recent ASM Global position was executive vice president of marketing, 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 across the US and internationally.

Since joining ASM Global, Merchán has also overseen all strategic marketing, PR, creative services and digital efforts across ASM Global’s portfolio’s stadium, arena, convention centre and theatre network worldwide. This has included a focus on such initiatives as prioritising the customer experience and elevating the guest insights database via innovative partnerships with Qualtrics XM.

Prior to his time at ASM Global, Merchán oversaw marketing for Live Nation’s Clubs & Theaters division following a decade-long stint at Hard Rock International establishing the strategic direction for 175 venues in 74 countries representing a billion-dollar business overseeing both sales and marketing in that capacity.

In making the announcement, ASM president and chief executive Ron Bension said: “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.”

Meanwhile, in his new position, Cooper will work alongside venue teams in the UK to develop new food and beverage solutions for all retail and premium areas. He will also provide a keen focus on the introduction of diverse and sustainable products and ranges.

Chris Bray, executive vice president of ASM Global Europe, said: “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.”

Steve Davies is to become the new chief operating officer for Chester and Bangor Racecourses.

The current operations director of Lancashire Cricket Club (Emirates Old Trafford) previously served as general manager at Madame Tussauds and head of park operations at Alton Towers.

Davies said: “I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the operations for Chester Race Company, this is a really exciting new role for me. I look forward to working with the team that I’ve heard so much about and hope to impart my knowledge and experience of working in stadiums and attractions to enhance the customer experience at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee even further.”

Sean Nicholson has been named head of ticketing at Co-op Live, Oak View Group’s under-construction events and sport venue in Manchester, England.

OVG said Nicholson would make sure “fans get access to the biggest and best global artists and shows”.

“Sean joins us with years of experience in the sector, having worked at venues across the UK, helping to drive ticketing processes forward and streamlining the fan experience,” the group said.

Lolly, the hospitality technology specialist, has announced the appointment of Matthew Cox as sales director, Angela Durnin as finance director and Paul Markey as business development manager.

Cox will be looking after the hospitality sales team, and continuing to build awareness in other sectors, including contract catering, stadia, events and education. As well as bringing in new customers, he will also work with existing clients to build and evolve the Lolly product roadmap. With more than 20 years’ experience in EPoS and payments, Cox’s previous roles include time with MCR, Omnico and Fingo.

Peter Moore, chief executive at Lolly, said: “Having their combined expertise on board will support the company’s planned growth and expansion into new markets in the UK and overseas.”

Do you have news of an appointment that we should know about? Get in touch by emailing and we’ll include it in our next round-up.