Blackburn Saying See Ya?

See Tickets non-executive chairman Nick Blackburn is believed to have arranged to step down from his role and leave the UK company he’s headed for 10 years.

It wasn’t possible to get confirmation from Blackburn at press time but sources close to the situation say he doesn’t agree with the way the company’s Dutch management runs the UK operation.

They say he’s become disillusioned with the way the company has progressed since changing hands twice within a year and is looking for a new challenge.

See Tickets was sold to Joop van den Ende’s Dutch-based Stage Entertainment in January 2008. Ten months later Stage picked up about £250 million by selling 60 percent of the business to ING Group, the Dutch investment and financial services company.

ING, which is reckoned to be the ninth-largest company in the world, continued the consolidation by gathering all the UK and European sections of See Tickets under one umbrella and putting its European chief exec, Bart van Schriek, in charge of it.

The new company immediately became the second-biggest ticket supplier in mainland Europe, with revenues of about euro 400 million in 2009. Market leader CTS Eventim turned over about 30 percent more.

See Tickets previously belonged to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, which formed the company in 2002 by buying the Nottingham-based Way Ahead ticket agency for £13 million and combining it with its own Really Useful Tickets.

Blackburn joined the Really Useful Group a year earlier and was put in charge of the new operation.

He previously spent 13 years as sales and marketing director for Ticketmaster. In 2004 he may have irked his former employer by telling The Independent that Ticketmaster is “a brand people have to use rather than one they want to use. …We want See to be a brand people want to use.”

During his time at See Tickets, Blackburn has become a well-respected industry spokesman and is frequently asked to sit on conference panels at such gatherings as ILMC and the Live UK Summit.

He represented the ticketing business in discussions with the government when former culture minister Tessa Jowell was looking at outlawing the secondary market. He remains a fierce and outspoken opponent of ticket touts.

He once suggested the authorised ticket agencies took some action of their own and told BBC Radio Five that most touts have the technology to track down scalpers and cancel their online ticket sales.