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People on the move: Utilita Arena Newcastle, NEC Group and more

Featured image credit: NEC Group

ASM Global has announced the appointment of Caroline Ginnane as general manager of the Utilita Arena Newcastle.

Ginnane has been working as the venue’s interim general manager and head of sales and marketing, and she will now step up to the permanent general manager position. Originally from London, Ginnane moved to New Zealand where she headed up ownership and operations of a 250-cover restaurant.

She has since worked across arenas, stadiums, theatres and large community venues in the UK, New Zealand and Doha. Ginnane will commence her new role this month.

NEC Group Ticketing & Arenas has announced its new senior commercial team, which will be spearheaded by commercial director Andy Price.

Ben Sharman will take up a new position as head of venue programming at the company, while Noel Edwards will step up as ticketing director. Gareth Coleman will continue in his role as ticketing general manager, while Nicky Burgess, who was appointed as head of sales last year, will further cement the senior team.

NEC Group Ticketing & Arenas is responsible for the programming of Utilita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena, and also leads on business for its premium hospitality provider, Amplify, and national ticket agency, The Ticket Factory.

(Pictured from left to right: Ben Sharman, Gareth Coleman, Noel Edwards, Andy Price, Nicky Burgess)

The Chicago Bears NFL team has named Kevin Warren as its new president and chief executive.

Warren has 21 years of experience as an NFL executive with the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings, and most recently served as commissioner of the Big Ten Conference. He will replace Ted Phillips, who is retiring after 40 seasons with the Bears, including 23 as president and chief executive.

He joins the Bears with the team keen to develop a new stadium. The City of Chicago is seeking to ensure the Bears’ long-term future at Soldier Field and is planning a major revamp of the venue, although the team has maintained that its focus is on building a new stadium.

Warren is the first black president in the history of the Bears and the first president and chief executive hired from outside the organisation.

Charlene Nyantekyi has started a new position as head of hospitality at Formula 1.

Nyantekyi worked as general manager at Club Wembley from March 2018 to September 2022, having previously served as head of hospitality sales and operations at Formula E Holdings.

Nyantekyi has also held roles at The O2, AEG Europe and Arsenal.

Sam Booth has been appointed as the first director of responsibility at AEG Europe, with the role to include development of the venue operator’s net-zero strategy.

Booth has worked on event production and sustainability projects with Nestlé, Adidas and Pernod Ricard in the past. Booth’s new role will see him provide strategic direction and support to AEG Europe’s business units and his appointment comes on the back of major sustainability initiatives at The O2 in London and Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena.

AEG Presents has appointed Rick Johnson as senior vice-president of ticketing and revenue.

Johnson will be responsible for overseeing the department under the company’s global touring division. Prior to joining AEG Presents, Johnson advised ticketing outlet AXS, a subsidiary of AEG.

He will be based in Los Angeles and report to AEG Presents’ president of global touring and talent, Gary Gersh.

Henry Staelens is stepping down as chief executive of League One football club Forest Green Rovers.

Staelens joined the club in 2018 at the age of 30, making him the youngest chief executive in the English Football League. During his time at the club, it secured promotion from League Two and posted record commercial growth figures year-on-year.

Francois Xavier Jeanne has left his position as operations manager of the Stade de France Consortium.

Xavier Jeanne had worked at the Stade de France since April 2022, having previously served as an event manager and project manager at the Paris La Defense Arena. He has also worked at Paris’ Accor Arena and Weezevent.

The Sodexo Live! division of catering and facilities management provider Sodexo has named Belinda Oakley as its new chief executive in North America.

Oakley will lead 20,000-plus team members at 150-plus partner venues throughout the US and Canada. She will replace outgoing chief executive Steve Pangburn, who will stay on to help with the transition until the end of March in an advisory capacity.

Oakley most recently served as chief executive of Chartwells K12, where she led 16,000 employees serving two million meals daily at 4,400 schools across the US. She previously held leadership roles at Famous Brands International, Brumby’s Bakeries and Benugo.

Richard Cheesman has started a new position as managing director of E15 Insights at Levy UK + Ireland.

Cheesman joins from Legends International, where he had served as a senior vice-president for more than six years. He previously worked at International Stadia Group for almost 14 years.

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