AEG Europe chief operating officer John Langford – who oversees the company’s many arenas across the region including London’s The O2 arena (cap. 20,000) – is stepping down as president of the European Arenas Association (EAA) having completed his two-year tenure.

The EAA has appointed Olivier Toth (pictured, right), CEO at Luxembourg’s Rockhal (6,500) as the organisation’s new president.

“I can think of no better person to lead the EAA. Since joining the association, Olivier has been working tirelessly on behalf of the members to deliver the association’s goal of strengthening ties with the European Union and boosting the advocacy impact of the EAA at EU level,” said Langford.

Olivier Toth, an EAA board member, was a co-founder of the EAA EU Subgroup which morphed into the Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA) during the Covid-19 crisis when it became clear that the live event industry needed a unified voice through which to open dialogue with EU governing bodies.

EAA said ARA has been active throughout the pandemic through a wide range of self-funded activities to raise awareness of how the pandemic was impacting arenas and has been in active conversations with national and European policy-makers, working towards the development of a uniform regulatory framework for the mandatory requirements and measures that will bring back live events across Europe.

It said Toth was instrumental in the reshaping of the EAA’s vision for the future designed to create a more inclusive membership structure and to address the challenges and opportunities for recovery and long-term growth. The association said its activities will centre on four pillars:

  • knowledge exchange, education and training
  • advocacy
  • networking
  • content development

Commenting on his appointment, Olivier Toth said, “I am honoured to be appointed as the EAA’s next president and look forward to further developing and delivering the EAA’s realigned objectives and to continue to work closely with the EU on arena-related topics. Through the Arena Resilience Alliance, we have seen how arenas play a vital role as the hub of the live events ecosystem and how necessary it is to have a collective voice for our industry.”