Willard oversees the books of the world's largest live-entertainment company, with a market cap of $4.5 billion. Live Nation promotes 23,000 concerts, partners with 12,000 ticketing clients, represents more than 230 artists and entertains 60 million fans annually. Willard, who grew up in Oklahoma City and now works out of Live Nation's office in Beverly Hills, handles the financial operations of the global leader. She also has been instrumental in driving its profitability -- 2013 was the most successful year in Live Nation's nine-year history, and the company is on track to exceed those results in 2014. In first-quarter 2014, revenue was $1.1 billion, up 22 percent year over year. "It's another record year," says Willard. "The concerts are really feeding Ticketmaster, the artist-management business and the sponsorships business."
Live Nation is a multifaceted music giant: a promoter, venue operator, management company and ticketing firm, with business straddling merchandising, sponsorships and digital/mobile. Willard's management has ensured that Live Nation's gains in revenue and adjusted operating income have transitioned to growth in free cash flow, meaning those expansive business segments can grow even larger. The company recently announced a Vice Media partnership to launch a digital media property. The venture will touch the web, mobile and TV, and feature original music programming and live-event streams. "The Vice story could be a real game-changer," says Willard. "We can use our relationships with artists and Vice to create some amazing content that nobody else in the world could do."
"It's another record year," says Willard. "The concerts are really feeding Ticketmaster, the artist-management business and the sponsorships business."