Lombard Out Of LN’s Paris Office

There’s been another shakeup in Live Nation’s European operations, with the sale of its interest in top German promoter Marek Lieberberg being quickly followed by Jackie Lombard’s departure from the company’s French office.

Lombard, who sold her company to LN at the beginning of 2007 and appears to have reached the end of a three-year contract, confirmed she’s no longer with the company.

She told Pollstar she won’t be making further comment on the situation until her terms of exit have been settled. She did say she’ll return to being a one-woman operation and hopes to promote acts in just the way she did in her pre-Live Nation years.

Lieberberg being squeezed out of the LN fold and Lombard’s departure from the Paris office raise questions over how some of LN’s future European tours will be promoted.

The acts promoted by Arthur Fogel’s global touring division may well use the new German office to be run by former Music Pool chief Johannes Wessels and the French promoting team that will presumably be headed by Angelo Goppe.

But there may well be other acts represented by Live Nation agents who have forged longstanding and very happy working relationships with Lieberberg and Lombard and will insist on sticking with them.

Depeche Mode, represented by Andrew Zweck from LN’s Sensible Events, is a possible example. The act’s known to have a strong bond with Lieberberg and Lombard, something that may equally apply to a few acts represented by other LN agents including Barry Dickins and Rod MacSween from International Talent Booking or John Giddings at Solo.

Ultimately, the managers of these acts will instruct the agents on who will be their German and French promoters, which may cause LN to lose some major shows in both territories.

At press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from Live Nation international chief exec Alan Ridgeway, although the departures of Lieberberg and Lombard may have sparked some bewilderment or even controversy within the company.

Lieberberg’s departure appeared to be a combination of LN’s failure to secure more than 20 percent of his company and the fact the major shareholder is German ticket giant CTS Eventim.

Lieberberg told Pollstar he tried to mediate between LN chief Michael Rapino and Eventim chief Klaus-Peter Schulenberg to resolve the situation. Given the two companies are at such loggerheads over the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, it seems the odds were stacked against him.

Internal rumours about Lieberberg’s future in the Live Nation loop began when he stopped being included in the promoters’ regular conference calls.

In the statement announcing Wessels’ arrival and the appointment of former Ticket Online director Klaus Zemke as managing director of Ticketmaster Germany, Ridgeway said LN believes it’s now “well positioned to compete with the historic dominance of CTS in the German concert and ticketing market.”

The fact he described that position as being “incredibly exciting” suggests he’s making no secret about the fact the two companies are getting closer to drawing up battle lines.

Eventim has successfully appealed the UK Competition Commission’s passing of the LN-TM merger because it fears it may cause the US company to renege on the 10-year ticketing deal it signed with the German company at the end of 2007.

If that wasn’t enough to niggle Live Nation, matters are made worse by the fact the Eventim ticketing system it began using in the UK a month or so ago isn’t up to scratch. The launch was delayed a month due to software problems and some observers believed Eventim was so convinced it was about to be ditched by Live Nation that it under-invested in its London operations in order to reduce its potential losses.

The reasons behind Lombard’s departure aren’t clear. She was the first European female promoter Live Nation or any of its previous incarnations had acquired, a much-respected partner for many of the world’s largest touring acts.

However, it may be she didn’t build the company to the point it could compete for rapidly rising acts below the major arena level.
LN rectified the situation at the beginning of December – a month before Lombard’s contract is believed to have expired – by recruiting Goppe from Paris rivals Nous Productions, Armel Campagna and Damien Chombard-Boudet from Gerard Drouot Productions and acquiring jazz specialist Jonathan Miltat’s Deluxe Productions.

Ridgeway was behind all four appointments.

Apart from Lieberberg and Lombard, the other senior promoters to have split from Live Nation’s European touring team in the last two years include Lazlo Hegedus in Hungary, Serge Grimaux in Czech Republic and Paul Ambach and Michel Perl in Belgium.