LONDON — Dutch entertainment impresario Joop van den Ende will hand over day-to-day control of his international theater empire, Stage Entertainment, to Henk Kivits.
“It was an emotional decision but one I am happy with,” van den Ende told a news conference in Amsterdam Thursday, explaining he was stepping down to spend more time with his wife and family.
Kivits will take over as CEO on Sept. 1. He was formerly chairman and CEO of Holland Casinos, a 30-year-old venture running 13 casinos throughout the Netherlands.
Van den Ende will become chairman of Stage Entertainment’s supervisory board.
He also will focus on the development of a string of original musicals aimed at the German, Dutch and British markets.
Van den Ende, best known internationally as the co-creator of TV format giant Endemol alongside John de Mol, founded Stage Entertainment in 1998 out of Endemol’s live entertainment division, which he acquired that year.
Today it operates in 12 countries — including Britain, Germany and Russia and the U.S. — and boasts an annual revenue of Euros 600 million ($809 million). Recent successful productions include “The Lion King,” which attracted audiences in excess of 3 million people in Germany and 1 million in the Netherlands.