AEG Live has snapped up the services of Thomas Ovesen, former GM of Mirage Promotions, to oversee the company's Middle Eastern presence. Ovesen will remain based in Dubai, where he will now helm AEG Live's live promotions office.

The executive is recognized as one of the foremost promoters in the burgeoning region, which Billboard Magazine's recent Best Bets 2008 feature tipped as one of its "Hot Spots To Stop."

While leading Mirage's pan-Arab promotion business, Ovesen brokered deals to exclusively represent Beyonce and Kelly Rowland, and has a track record which includes concerts for the likes of Shakira, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Pink, Mary J Blige, and Aerosmith.

Ovesen's move follows Live Nation's definitive agreement last month to acquire a 65% controlling stake in Mirage.

As the region's concert infrastructure matures, the Middle East is rapidly becoming an important stop-off point for performers, Ovesen explains. "Whilst the region until few years back was pretty insignificant regarding touring live entertainment and mainly catered for foreign expats living in Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman," he tells Billboard.biz, "there is now a more sophisticated trend emerging in particular for events going in to Dubai." He adds, "I believe the future is here."

Randy Phillips, president and CEO, AEG Live, sees Ovesen harnessing a market which is ripe for the concerts business. "Having a presence in that region is very important to us in terms of growth and finance opportunities," he tells Billboard.biz.

On the new hire, Phillips adds, "What we do is invest in people. We try to hire the best people. This company was built in investing in individual and giving them the tools and resources to grow the business. In Thomas we saw someone who was ready to leave that Mirage womb and branch out and build his own business."

Ovesen will report to Jessica Koravos, COO Europe.

"It's a hybrid deal," notes Phillips. "Ovesen is an executive and employee of AEG Live, but he has enough of a back-end interest in the business he is building to treat it as an owner and an entrepreneur."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print