AEG Presents’ new global touring division has announced several key hires for the newly formed arm of the company. Today, Gary Gersh, president AEG Presents global touring and talent, announced that David Rappaport will serve as chief operating officer AEG global touring and Michael Harrison has been appointed senior vice president AEG global touring. Both executives will be based in Los Angeles.
“I think that David brings a real sense of focus with his history as a partner at a law firm and working at Google. He is bringing that expertise to us in a way that we haven’t had it before,” Gersh tells Billboard. “It was really important to get the right person to do that so that as we are going out and building this we have the right person making sure the foundation is a bedrock.”
Most recently, Rappaport was Head of Artist Relations (Americas) at YouTube Music/Google Play Music. In addition to spearheading new education and strategy initiatives geared towards artists, management companies and agencies at YouTube, Rappaport also led promotional initiatives with several artists, including Camila Cabello, Panic! At The Disco and Led Zeppelin.
Harrison was previously tour director for Frontier Touring Company, Australia & New Zealand’s premier international concert promoter for the last 26 years. He has promoted tours by some of the biggest names in music including most recently Arctic Monkeys, Portugal. The Man, Flight of The Conchords, Royal Blood, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes, Midnight Oil, Lorde and The Killers.
Harrison “has been bringing artists to Australia for years from Europe and bringing them through Australia to Asia. His area of expertise brings a tremendous amount to the group,” says Gersh. “His relationships worldwide are imperative for us to grow the group at the level at which we plan to.”
It was also announced by Gersh that several executives currently based in New York will be transitioning into the new Global Touring division including Donna DiBenedetto who has been promoted to vp global touring, Jenny Heifetz Henault who was named senior director global touring, Jessica Smith who has been promoted to senior manager of marketing and Derek Tucker who was named vp of ticketing in the new division. Nashville-based Laurel Hilburn has also been promoted to manager of touring.
“We think it is important to bring a combination of people from the outside and from within,” says Gersh, who adds that the promotions are bringing employees from various divisions together in global touring for a more targeted focus. “We are really excited about all the people who are getting promoted and we will continue to promote from within.”
The new hire announcements follow the initial slate of executives named as part of the global touring division. Former LoyalT Management co-founder Rich Schaefer, who joined AEG in June, was promoted to senior vp of AEG Presents' global touring division, while Portugal. The Man manager and former StubHub executive Rich Holtzman joined the group as senior vp of artist development and marketing. Schaefer is based in New York, while Holtzman lives in Los Angeles. Rounding out the senior management team for the new global touring division are long-time AEG Presents evp Larry Vallon, svp Debra Rathwell, svp Ali Harnell, svp Bobby Reynolds, vp and general manager Cody Lauzier.
“Though we only announced it a few weeks ago, we’ve been moving in this direction for the better part of eight months. We are just now coming above board, if you will,” Gersh adds. “We are already seeing some clear direction that where we are headed is super positive. I think over the course of the next 12 to 24 months we will see a tremendous growth spurt for us in our relationships with talent and our execution.”