LN Promotes Probyn

John Probyn has been promoted to Live Nation’s chief ops officer for music in the U.K.

The statement announcing the former U.K. festival director’s new job makes particular mention of the role he played in “securing another three-year agreement with Royal Parks to continue to stage large scale live events in Hyde Park” and says his “past achievements speak for themselves.”

It was an important victory in what had become a sort of European microcosm of the global battle between Live Nation and AEG.

LN U.K. President Paul Latham told Pollstar he would have been “bitterly disappointed” to lose the Hyde Park contract.

Outside of the U.S., the two Los Angeles-based companies have leap-frogged each other around the globe in search of new markets, which has also brought them head-to-head in such places as Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

The battle in London was more of a high-profile affair and also something of a grudge match. The challenge came from the AEG-funded Kilimanjaro, which is headed by Stuart Galbraith, who was Live Nation’s U.K. managing director before exiting a year ago. Galbraith worked many of LN’s Hyde Park shows.

The Royal Parks, which runs eight London parks and handles the tendering process, opted to stick with Live Nation.

Galbraith protested and attended an appeal hearing but withdrew the appeal before knowing the result.

The Royal Parks released a statement confirming that Kilimanjaro made an appeal and then withdrew it, but declined to make further comment.

Latham said producing shows in Hyde Park is like working in what he jokingly refers to as “The Queen’s back yard.”

“It needs to be approached with some gravitas, and I’m pleased The Royal Parks felt we’d shown a respect for the surroundings.”

The press release also made it clear that Probyn will continue to oversee the Hyde Park shows such as Hard Rock Calling and O2 Wireless Festival, as well as Download at Donington.

His new broader role will also include the responsibility for U.K. promotions, marketing, public relations, hospitality and production.

The new setup may mean Latham, who also represents Live Nation on the Academy Music Group board, will have more time to focus on the company’s increasing number of venues, leaving Probyn to oversee the live business.

Lathams says it’s Probyn’s “multi-faceted” talent, which covers all aspects of live shows including logistics and production, that has earned him his new job.

In three years, AEG – which owns a major part of Kilimanjaro – will have another chance for the Hyde Park contract.

Galbraith previously said one of the reasons he withdrew his appeal was because the contract on offer didn’t include 2012, when the Olympic Games will be staged in London.

Live Nation is finalising a 2009 Hyde Park lineup that already includes Blur (July 2-3), a co-promotion with Metropolis Music.