NEW YORK — Philip Anschutz’s AEG Live is hanging its shingle in New York, opening an East Coast office for its concert-promotion operations and hiring Metropolitan Entertainment Group veteran Debra Rathwell to oversee it.
Rathwell, who will take the title of senior vice president at AEG Live and report to chief exec Randy Phillips, will oversee the East Coast businesses of AEG Live units Concerts West and Goldenvoice. She will also handle venue-acquisition and development activities.
Exec was most recently exec veepee at Metropolitan, which was acquired by live-event giant Clear Channel Entertainment in December. Prior to joining the company in 1994, she worked for 12 years at Donald K. Donald Prods. in Montreal.
Rathwell plans to run AEG’s Gotham office as a full-service concert promoter, generating tours for existing clients and hunting down new business from new and developing talent. She is aiming to put on about 300 shows annually — roughly the same number that MEG did in the region.
Also joining the New York office are several other Metropolitan veterans, including senior talent buyer Michael Donovan, touring exec Donna DiBenedetto and others from finance, marketing, box office and production divisions.
Exec acknowledged the difficulty of competing in today’s concert business, particularly against a giant competitor like Clear Channel, which runs more than 130 venues nationwide. But she maintained that AEG can carve out its share of the business on both coasts.
“We’re looking to become a competitor out of the gate,” Rathwell said in an interview. “We all end up with the same rental arrangements, and most of the buildings in metro areas are public buildings; if we can pick up most of the MEG business, we’ll be off to a running start.”