In his first interview since Randy Phillips’ exit as CEO of AEG Live on Monday, Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of parent company Anschutz Entertainment Group, weighed in on Phillips’ contributions in building AEG Live into the second largest promoter in the world.
“I have nothing but great respect for [Phillips] and what he did for this company. He helped to build AEG Live into what it is today, he did a tremendous job, and I look forward to working with him more in the future, whatever direction he goes,” Beckerman tells Billboard.biz exclusively, adding that he has worked “very closely” with Phillips for 12 years. “He’s fantastic at what he does, he’s truly a unique talent in the music business, and I know he’s going to be hugely successful.”
Beckerman, who joined AEG in 1997 and served as COO and CFO, assumed the role of AEG CEO upon the exit of Tim Lieweke, the sports and entertainment giant’s founding CEO, last March. Asked about the timing of Phillips’ exit, with AEG Live coming off a record year for gross revenues, Beckerman compared Phillips to former NBA coach Phil Jackson, who won championships both in Chicago and Los Angeles at AEG’s Staples Center. “Phil Jackson was the right coach for that team at that time, and Randy was absolutely the right CEO for that group of people for that period of time,” Beckerman explains. “It was time to move in a different direction, just like Phil Jackson and the Lakers moved on.”
As for AEG Live going forward under its restructured management team led by chairman Jay Marciano, the music industry should expect business as usual “and a lot more,” Beckerman says. “We will be as active, if not more so, and we will continue to invest capital, time, and people, and grow the live business, because it’s such a critical part of our overall company.”
The “exact same philosophy” should be expected for AEG, which was for sale from September of last year until March of this year, when owner Phillip Anschutz abruptly took the Los Angeles-based firm off the block. Beckerman promises “continued growth, new projects, more investment in brick and mortar projects, more investment in our digital business, more investment in ticketing, and, of course, continued growth in our real estate projects around the world.”
But today Beckerman was interested in clearing the air about Phillips’ exit. “I can’t say enough how thankful we are for all of his contributions in making AEG Live the strong company it is today, and the role he played in that,” he says. “We’ve always had a great relationship with him, and I know that we’ll be working together in the future because he’s so strong in this business. I know that he’s going to continue in the music business and do great things.”