Randy Phillips is out as president/CEO of AEG Live, the live entertainment arm of Anschutz Entertainment Group.
The company said in a statement that it is “restructuring the management of that live entertainment subsidiary” and that Jay Marciano, Chief Operating Officer of AEG, has been appointed Chairman of AEG Live and will assume a more active role in the management of that division. In his new role, Marciano will oversee an LA-based executive team led by Paul Tollett, John Meglen, Shawn Trell and Rick Mueller.
Tollett was named CEO and President of Goldenvoice; Meglen as named President of Global Touring for AEG Live; and Trell has been promoted to the role of Chief Operating Officer, AEG Live, taking over for Tom Miserendino who recently relocated to London to assume the role of President and CEO, AEG Europe.
In February of 2012, Phillips signed a new five-year contract to remain at the helm of AEG Live, the position he has held with the live entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG since joining the company in 10 years ago.
Under Phillips’ direction, AEG Live has become a force in touring and concert promotion. Among achievements on his watch were Celine Dion’s residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Vegas (spearheaded by AEG Live division Concerts West president John Meglen), arena residencies for artists ranging from Garth Brooks to Prince. On the other hand, Phillips has been a polarizing figure in the industry, and was at the center of the storm in AEG’s recent wrongful death trial relating to the death of Michael Jackson, of which AEG was found not guilty by a jury and Phillips was dismissed from.
Still, on Phillips’ watch AEG Live became a viable global touring deal option with creative marketing and promotion for a wide range of touring artists. When Jackson’s 50-date This Is It run at the O2 in London didn’t happen, Phillips was a key player in saving the company from a huge financial loss as a producer of the “This Is It” documentary. AEG Live now includes 15 regional and international offices as well as stand-alone divisions devoted to touring, festivals (division Goldenvoice produces Coachella, for one), exhibitions, broadcast, merchandise, ticketing and special events. Additionally, AEG Live and its parent AEG own, operate or exclusively book more than 40 venues from the club to stadium level.
Phillips also built a formidable team of savvy touring executives that span the globe, keeping with his early strategy of bringing in key personnel as opposed to acquiring companies or venues. “I decided early on to invest in great people and not pay ridiculous multiples for what ostensibly is a personal service business,” he told Billboard in a 2012 Q&A, ostensibly referring to the promoter consolidation that led to what is now Live Nation. “To me, cash will always be king, but if cash is equal, it’s about relationships. The one thing about AEG, and it’s been my mantra: We invest in people.”
Many felt Phillips’ future might be in doubt when Tim Lieweke, the man who hired Phillips and was one of his staunchest supporters, resigned as CEO of AEG in March when the company came off the block. But at that time insiders at the company told Billboard Phillips status at the company was solid.
Phillips, a former artist manager for such acts as Usher and Lionel Richie, was a creative dealmaker and clearly loved the game. ‘It’s not all altruistic,” he told Billboard. “I like making money. Like anyone else, I like being rewarded when I do good work. But the other side of it is, I love music, and I love working with new talent, watching people break, helping established artists extend their run. I love being part of a team that surrounds artists. There isn’t a day I walk into the office that I don’t enjoy.”