Live Nation has fired U.K. Music managing director Stuart Galbraith amid mounting industry speculation that he was being poached by U.S. rivals AEG.
Live Nation won’t comment beyond a statement saying he’s been dismissed with "immediate effect for breach of contract" and AEG had no comment on the headhunting rumor. However, Live Nation U.K. president Paul Latham tells Pollstar that he’s now tied up his other promoters on longer term contracts and raised them to vice presidents.
"It’s a reward for all the hard work they’ve done here under Stuart. We’re not in any sort of hiatus, we’re already going forward," he explained, although he declined to comment directly on exactly why Galbraith was dumped.
At time of going to press it wasn’t possible to get comment from Galbraith on the reasons for his departure or whether he’s in dialog with rival promoters.
Messages to his e-mail address are getting an automatic response saying, "I am currently out of the office on holiday," with no mention of any return date.
Earlier, without giving any detail of the issue involved, a Live Nation representative told Pollstar it’s been brewing for "a little while" and confirmed that Galbraith was given his marching orders just before the Labor Day weekend.
So far it hasn’t been possible to get comment from Live Nation chief Michael Rapino, who would obviously be party to such a high-level dismissal, or international music chief Alan Ridgeway.
As Galbraith was Latham’s No.2 in the U.K., it’s likely it would have been his task to carry out the disciplinary action.
It’s believable that Galbraith, who joined SFX when it bought Midland Concert Promoters in ‘99, might be a target for other promoters.
He’s risen through the ranks via vice president of promotions and director of festivals, leading the team that’s created the successful Download and 02 Wireless festivals, plus an annual outdoor series in London’s Hyde Park.
He’s a key figure in the U.K. festival business and along with Melvin Benn, his colleague from the new Live Nation and MCD-owned Festival Republic, would be a great asset for a company looking to expand in that territory.
Although, as Festival Republic rises from the old Mean Fiddler’s summer outdoor business, Benn looks to have committed to a longer term future under the Live Nation-MCD festival umbrella.