Maides For The Job

The continued expansion of Academy Music Group means operations director Steve Forster needs more staff to run his office, so Richard Maides has been promoted from the company’s Birmingham venue to share the workload.

He’ll take the title of group ops manager, one that Forster held when the company was running two London venues instead of 10 nationwide.

“I needed a right-hand man, looked around the group and decided that Richard was best-suited for the job,” Forster told Pollstar.

“As the company grows, I have less time to concentrate on day-to-day stuff because there are more venues now and I’m also involved in looking for new ones.

“Richard has experience in all aspects of running a venue, he’s commercially focused and I’m looking forward to having him on board,” he explained.

Maides’ replacement at Birmingham Academy – the old Hummingbird – is Carl Bathgate, who joins AMG after spending the last six years as promoter and entertainment manager at Liverpool University’s Student Union.

Since AMG bought the city’s old Lomax club (in May 2003), refurbished it and reopened it as a Carling Academy venue, the closure of Liverpool’s Royal Court should have seen the company clean up in the city. But Bathgate’s success at the local university union gained Forster’s respect.

“He had the potential to be a thorn in our side in Liverpool and I’m very glad he’s joined us,” Forster said. “He’s got excellent contacts and a good reputation within the industry. He was a natural choice and we don’t doubt he will be an asset to AMG.”

AMG was created from a £33.5 million buyout of The McKenzie Group, a deal that was led by MKG’s then-managing director John Northcote and largely funded by Royal London Private Equity.

The deal left RLPE with 52 percent of the company, with Simon Moran’s SJM Concerts, the Metropolis Music partnership of Bob Angus and Paul Hutton, Denis Desmond’s MCD (the three promoters behind the V Festivals) and Northcote all holding 12 percent each.

Desmond has also teamed with Michael Rapino of Clear Channel’s live entertainment division, which the parent company looks sure to spin off by the end of the year, to buy the U.K.-based The Mean Fiddler Music Group.

Apart from such prestigious rooms as London’s Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire, AMG also runs Carling-branded venues – with capacities ranging from 400 to 2,000 – in Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Newcastle.

— John Gammon