Sydney Entertainment Centre GM Steve Romer leaves his position this week after four years in the job.
A 40-year venues veteran, Romer was parachuted into the SEC job when his employers Darling Harbour Convention and Exhibition assumed management of the venue in 2009. He proved a steady hand at the helm after what had been a turbulent stretch for the Sydney arena. The 12,500-capacity site's previous lease-holders, Kevin Jacobsen’s Arena Management, had entered into administration with debts estimated at around $10 million Australia ($8.4 million).
Since Romer has been on board, the venue has hosted shows by the likes of Radiohead, Florence & the Machine, Pink and last year it was the setting for the 2012 ARIA Awards. Also, the International Association of Venue Managers’ honored the SEC with the “2012 Arena Excellence Award” -- the first time any venue outside of North America had received the accolade.
Romer is returning to Queensland. “After 12 wonderful years in Sydney it’s now the right time to head back to the Gold Coast,” he comments in a statement. “I leave the SEC with an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction and wouldn’t have swapped the experience for anything in the world. I wish the venue and staff every success under the new management arrangements.”
Romer's CV includes extensive stints in the theme-parks business, including slots as director of operations and entertainment at Dreamworld, and show and entertainment manager at Sea World. Prior to the SEC job, he’d served as director of operations at the neighbouring Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre for six years.
Romer has also served as a councillor on the board of the Venue Management Assn. - Asia Pacific and as VMA president.
Last year, the New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell confirmed the SEC would be demolished as part of a billion-dollar "complete facelift" on the city's scenic Darling Harbour. Plans include a premium entertainment facility with a capacity of more than 8,000.