On International Women’s Day, the Oak View Group (OVG) said it has hired three senior women to lead its new 23,500-capacity arena in Manchester.

OVG’s first three hires for the Co-Op Live venue, which is due to open in 2023, are marketing and CSR director Sara Tomkins, head of partnerships Katie Musham and sales director Becci Thomson.

Further hires are expected to be announced in the coming weeks as Co-op Live prepares to open its new HQ and “experiential showroom” in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in May.

OVG, the US company formed in 2015 by former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and former chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and artist manager Irving Azoff, is to begin building the Co-op Live arena this month.

The £350 million venue, located next to Manchester City football club’s Etihad Stadium in the Eastlands area of Manchester, will compete with the ASM Global-operated AO Arena. OVG has signed a 15-year naming rights deal with Co-Op that involves around £1m being distributed to charities by the Co-op Foundation.

OVG said Tomkins will bring more than 20 years of Manchester community engagement work and global brand-building experience to the team. Her previous experience includes stints as chief executive of GreaterSport, destination director for Marketing Manchester and assistant chief executive for marketing, communications and customer services at Manchester City Council.

Musham has more than 15-years’ experience in the live music, entertainment, and sport venue industries in the UK and Australia, previously holding senior programming, marketing, and partnership roles at venues such as Wembley Arena, The O2 arena, Perth Arena and Sydney’s SCG.

Thomson, previously led sales for special events at London’s The O2 arena.

OVG International co-chairperson Jessica Koravos said, “In Co-op Live we want to deliver a venue that brings the best possible experiences for fans and artists, while also making a positive impact on the local community and the planet around us.

“Our initial senior hires reflect our ambition to assemble an industry-leading team at Co-op Live and also demonstrate OVG’s plans to appoint talented women to key senior positions across the group as part of OVG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

For an in-depth overview of developments in the Manchester events sector read the March edition of Access All Areas, which will include interviews with OVG chief operating officer Mark Donnelly, Manchester major Andy Burnham and many more. To avoid missing it, subscribe here.