UK - Colleagues, clients and friends have been paying tribute to Ken Watts, the popular tour director who died last week. Acts he worked with include George Michael, Duran Duran, Natalie Imbruglia, Bond, Blues Brothers, Jamiroquai and Duran Duran.
Dennis Gardner, production manager for singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, wrote in a Facebook post: “It is with much sadness, this weekend I received news of the passing of my mentor, my friend, my brother and fearless leader Ken Watts. He was (and will remain) an industry legend and a personal hero of mine. I have learnt and continue to learn from Ken and the way he approached everything he did with heart, a heavy dose of common sense and, as ever, a wonderful sense of humour. Simply put, Ken taught me nearly everything.”
Neg Earth Lights wrote on Facebook: “The shock with which we learnt of the loss of Ken Watts, who passed away suddenly over the weekend, has given way to deep sadness and heartache; an industry giant, and friend of Neg Earth Lights for decades, we will miss him greatly and hold his family, friends and colleagues in our thoughts.”
“Our wonderful, dependable friend & tour manager, Ken Watts died unexpectedly last weekend,” said Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon. “In his calm, determined, good natured way, Ken directed some of our most successful and memorable tours. He took the strain & made the job feel easy for us. Our thoughts & sympathy are with his family. I will miss him very much. I know that we all will.”
Watts’ family has requested that those who would
USA - Mo-Sys Engineering has appointed Tanner Woodward as sales director, West Coast US. Woodward joins from RED Digital Cinema, where he spent five years managing existing channel partners and establishing new dealer networks, as well as creating the corporate creative vertical.
“I am extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity with Mo-Sys,” says Woodward. “The one thing I’ve learned in my time working with creatives, is that the most valuable tools are those built to empower creativity while making life easier and more efficient. Mo-Sys creates such innovative tools and solutions, and I couldn’t be more honoured to be part of this team.”
This news follows the earlier appointing of Mike Grieve as commercial director and is part of an expansion plan on the US West Coast. Woodward’s appointment reflects an ongoing investment in the LA sales and support team, which has doubled in recent months, and precedes the imminent announcement of the opening of the Mo-Sys LA office.
Michael Geissler, CEO Mo-Sys, comments: “We welcome Tanner and Mike to Mo-Sys when we are seeing significant expansion, directly related to the increase in demand for virtual and remote production technologies. We are expanding our amazing team for the future and, with pros like Tanner and Mike onboard, I know we are in safe hands.”
UK - The music industry has sadly lost another character with the passing of Phil Hildrow, an archetypal salesman, charmingly personable, slightly risqué loveable rogue. Phil died earlier this month, aged 75.
During the ‘70s Phil worked for PACE-MM who pioneered the “cheap but serviceable” mixing consoles which launched the careers of so many bands on the pub circuits of the UK.
The UK’s dominance in this market led to growing demand for ‘Made in GB’ products across mainland Europe. So, sensing the untapped potential for sales, Phil set off with a demo MM mixer in the boot of his trusty blue Vauxhall Cavalier to call on the music shops on the other side of the Channel and take orders, preferably large ones, prepaid.
This launched Phil’s new love of travel, which along with his love of football and family stayed with him for life.
Early in the ‘80s the music industry innovators around Cambridge turned their attention to developing computers with varying results. Phil moved from MM to Harrison before settling with C Audio - an offshoot of MM-PACE.
At the end of the decade, he and fellow international salesman Hans Freytag engineered the buyout of C Audio which over the next five years they built into the largest European manufacturer of power amplifiers. At the same time they had a side project - manufacturer repping firm TCI, which was breaking brands into the European market, including EAW, Samson, Metro and ARX. Managing and growing their established distributor networks helped to grow their international presence and a
USA - PK Sound has announced the appointment of Andrew King to the role of global senior brand support. Reporting directly to PK’s recently appointed chief strategy officer, James Oliver, King will head ongoing marketing and communications initiatives while also supporting colleagues and outside partners as a key part of the company’s brand team.
King comes to PK Sound following a lengthy stint with publishing and communications company NWC.
“I’ve seen and reported on years of technological innovation in the pro audio industry, and firmly believe that PK Sound represents the future of professional loudspeaker systems for the next generation of technicians and engineers,” King offers. “Simply put, our technology inspires demand, empowering users with unmatched acoustic and operational advantages. The potential built into this brand is incredible and I look forward to realizing it as part of the PK family.”
In his new role, King will drive marketing and communications initiatives with PK’s growing Brand Team while providing distributors and PK Alliance partners with targeted in-market support. He will also oversee all of PK’s outgoing press.
UK - Mike Wroe, former CFO of Just Eat plc, has been appointed as non-executive chairman of TV and events supplier JLLighting and JLLive.
Wroe has a wealth of experience as a senior executive, board member and non-executive director over the course of a 20-year career. As CFO at Just Eat plc, he led the transformation of a £20m start-up into a £4bn FTSE business operating in 15 countries worldwide. Amongst a variety of advisory roles to a number of leading European growth business, Wroe is also currently an active angel investor and is non-executive chairman of private equity backed proSapient Limited, the technology-led expert network and primary research platform.
Jack Linaker, group director, comments: “We are thrilled to have Mike on board. His strategic vision will help us steer the business as we grow and enter new territories. Mike’s highly successful track record across a breadth of functions means he has a holistic and creative approach to business which dovetails perfectly with our culture and aspirations. Mike’s experience in identifying consumer and audience trends means we can depend on him to bring his unique perspective and fresh approach to our industry so that we can offer our clients new ways of connecting with their audiences.”
Wroe adds: “In the last 12 months, digital acceptance has lept 10 years, dramatically changing the way people consume media and content. This change has radicalised the boundaries and expectations of what a ‘live experience’ delivers for audiences. A unique mix of skills and expertise acros
Europe - Goldensea UV (GSUV), manufacturers of UV-C disinfection lights, has announced Franck Verin as its new European sales manager for enterprise and agriculture with effect from 1 April 2021. Verin will focus on GSUV UV-C sales in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, the Benelux countries. He will also investigate and help create potential new business for Goldensea UV in the agriculture sector.
Verin brings with him a strong background in international business across variety of business sectors including automotive parts, material handling and, eventually, packaging for the wine industry. He has over 20 years of experience in managing multicultural sales teams, distribution networks and agents, and a special focus on service innovation.
“We are delighted Franck is joining the team and adding his spirit of positivity and energy,” says Goldensea UV’s Michael Althaus. “We strongly believe in the longterm future of Goldensea UV and with it a number of substantial, so far untouched growth markets for UV-C lighting. With Franck’s experience and focus on service we are certain our philosophies are well-aligned.”
USA - Chauvet Professional has appointed Jean Lariviere as the company’s channel relationship manager for concert & touring/broadcast. Lariviere joins the company after serving for four years at Elation Professional in international business development and more than 25 years deeply embedded in the industry.
In his new position, Lariviere will be responsible for communicating directly with lighting designers and decision makers in the concert/touring and broadcast segments of the market. He assumed his new position on 1 April and plans to be reaching out to designers and other members of the lighting community throughout the spring and summer.
“We view communication as a two-way street,” comments Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet. “We not only want to talk to customers about what we do, we also want to provide an open door that makes it easy for them to tell us about issues they care about. This has always been important, but never more so than today, as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Jean’s extensive experience and communications skills make him ideally suited for this position,” said Chauvet. “We are happy to welcome him to our team.”
For his part, Lariviere, “Over the past six or seven years, the company’s presence has grown tremendously in the market, as it’s won over more and more customers and been in the forefront of new products and ideas. I am looking forward to building on this momentum and advancing the connection between Chauvet Professional and the members of this industry.”
Europe - Ayrton has announced the appointment of Matt Hallard as the latest member of its expanding international sales team. Hallard takes up the position of regional sales manager for the UK, Ireland, Benelux, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Malta, Greece, Slovenia and Turkey, with effect from 1 April 2021.
Hallard brings extensive experience of the lighting industry and the European market from a career that spans over 20 years. He first cut his industry teeth with an eight-year period as a production manager on cruise ships, after which Hallard returned to dry land in 2005 to launch a career as a specialist in European sales with some well-known moving light brands.
“This was an exciting time in the development of moving lights and I worked with, and learned from, some incredibly talented, hard-working individuals,” says Hallard. “That diversity of experience has served me well, and now it’s time to apply all that learning to my new mission as regional sales manager for Ayrton.”
Hallard is looking forward to working with the Ayrton team as the industry pushes through the global pandemic: “It’s truly a great honour to be joining the team. I have long held Ayrton in high regard as a vibrant company with excellence in execution and a clear, forward-thinking vision (much like the namesake the company was named after). I think that reflects in those who represent the Ayrton brand today. Both my new colleagues and the existing distribution network are some of the most talented people in this, our wonderful industry of light. Many of th
France - Arbane Groupe has hired Alain Boone as its new international sales manager. Boone will oversee the development of a distribution network for Arbane Groupe and its brands APG and Active Audio, as well as maintaining existing relationships with the company’s historical partners worldwide.
An industry veteran, Boone has been active in the pro audio industry for more than 30 years. He made the shift from concert touring and system engineering to work as a product / sales manager in the Benelux region for audio distributor EML / AudioXL, before going on to serve as Nexo’s EMEA sales manager for six years.
“I’ve spent many years maintaining and optimising relationships between distributors and manufacturers, all while integrating products into customers’ projects to ensure that they are carried out as efficiently as possible,” comments Boone. “My engineering experience has also given me the ability to provide customers with technical as well as commercial guidance, all the way from the inception of a project to its final delivery.”
Boone will be reporting to Arbane Groupe CEO Régis Cazin and will work very closely with the entire team at Arbane Groupe, particularly the R&D and support / marketing departments. “I’ll be active worldwide for the Arbane Groupe - excluding France, which is now handled by Christophe Palluat - in order to work out a strong strategic plan for the future,” he says.
One of his most important tasks will be identifying partners, such as consultants and integrators, which might benefit from t
USA - Point Source Audio has expanded its sales team with the addition of Forrest Breese as account manager for the Western U.S. Breese has been a familiar face around California’s pro audio industry for many years and brings with him considerable experience from previous roles with manufacturers, distributors, integrators - and on stage as a musician.
Starting his professional career as a manufacturer’s rep, Breese has worked across just about every aspect of the industry from sales to integration, and has extensive experience working with a number of microphone brands.
“I know the competition very well, they all make good products, but I’ve found that Point Source Audio has some advantages in tonal qualities and features, and it was that innovative quality that attracted me to the company,” says Breese. “I’ve always been a multi-brand rep, so I’m excited to be able to focus on one company and the offerings that we have. I’m looking forward to getting the message out about Point Source Audio and explaining the benefits our technology can bring to people. I knew how good the products were before I joined the company, so to now be part of the team is amazing.”
“We are delighted to welcome someone of Forrest’s knowledge and experience into the Point Source Audio family,” adds Point Source Audio’s vice president of sales and marketing, Yvonne Ho. “He has an incredible grasp of the technology and our industry so he will immediately be a valuable resource for all of our customers and dealers in the Western region.”
France - The Crestron sales team has added Kevin Marchelidon as its new sales engineer in France.
Reporting to Alain Solomon, Crestron’s regional sales director in South West Europe, Marchelidon will be the go-to technical expert for customers, and will support the regional sales team.
“We're excited to welcome Kevin, who will be a great asset to our team in France,” comments Solomon. “He has been providing technical input for AV projects for many years and has a proven, excellent track record of customer service, project management and quality assurance.”
Marchelidon adds: “I am really looking forward to meeting all my colleagues and customers, and I am ready to provide my best assistance for all your technical requirements.”
USA - Altman Lighting has announced the promotion of lighting designer, and former vice president of product innovation Pete Borchetta to lead the company as general manager.
"We are thrilled to announce that Pete Borchetta has been promoted to the role of general manager,” says Russell Altman, president of Altman Lighting. “His expertise, communication skills and leadership ability have been a tremendous asset to Altman and the lighting industry as a whole.”
Borchetta led the effort to move Altman headquarters from Yonkers, NY to Denver during the pandemic summer of 2020. Russell Altman cites his collaborative management style as having been integral in attracting and retaining strong teams committed towards the common goal of ‘bringing imagination to light’.
“Since our move, we are reorganising around the concept of a ‘collaborative collective’. We are collectively rededicated to our customers and our commitments,” says Borchetta. “Our goal is to earn customers for life through listening, collaborating, and most importantly delivering on our promises.”
UK - With a plan for continued business growth across North America and Europe, Ultratec Special Effects has announced two additions to its sales team. Young-Hoo (Aaron) Dengra Ju has joined as the European sales lead for both special effects and pyrotechnics, while Kevin Allinder comes onboard as the newest sales representative serving the North American market, dedicated to special effects.
Dengra Ju is a seasoned event specialist with 15 years of experience in the industry, not only in sales and project management, but also from a strategic operations and process planning perspective. He has managed and executed an impressive list of events of all sizes within Europe and internationally, including Asia and the Middle East, spanning from major sporting events to local festivals. His ability to speak multiple languages fluently, including German, English, French, and Spanish, will also be beneficial in connecting Ultratec Special Effects with existing and future customers across the continent.
With over five years in the industry, Allinder has an extensive technical background, primarily in stage and live event lighting design and production.
“Prior to the shutdown, our company was experiencing tremendous growth, we are eager to build on the strength of our current sales team with a continued focus on our customer relationships”, says Adrian Segeren, president of Ultratec. “Both individuals bring specialized expertise that will be an asset to the organization as we continue to penetrate existing markets.”
USA - Apogee Electronics has announced the appointment of Rich Nevens as vice-president of sales and customer success. In this role, Nevens will join the executive team to lead sales, channel marketing and customer success worldwide. This move comes as Apogee prepares for accelerated growth in their audio interface and microphone product categories, as well as new projects planned for the future.
Nevens joins Apogee with 30-years of experience leading worldwide sales and solutions teams at Euphonix, Avid and most recently, VP sales and marketing at Focusrite Pro.
“As an experienced and successful sales executive with a deep understanding of our industry, Rich has a balance of domain expertise, relationships and a proven track record for driving revenue to Apogee,” comments Betty Bennett, president and CEO of Apogee Electronics. “I’m confident that Rich’s leadership will accelerate this next phase of growth for Apogee. We are pleased to welcome Rich to our team.”
UK - Stabal Media Group has expanded and has incorporated the live music legacy and global network of Artclub Live as a specialist division, led by newly appointed head of live music, Joe Clegg.
Clegg joins Stabal to extend its global reach and network of artists. Having founded Artclub Live to provide creative, musical and technical production support for artists worldwide, he has previously worked as live music producer on the Mumford & Sons Delta World Tour, and as musical director for artists including Ellie Goulding, Clean Bandit, and Aurora, featuring in performances with more than 100m combined views.
"With the return of live music on the horizon, I’m excited to be working with Stabal to create a division focussed on the integration of live music experiences and digital content,” says Clegg. “With a global network of musical directors and audio engineers we will be positioned to ensure consistent, high-quality performances on platform and out on the road.
“I have been fortunate to have experienced the euphoria of a live show from the stage, front of house and in an OB truck in the middle of a festival field. Now I’m looking forward to working with the Stabal team to help capture many more high-quality, engaging digital performances on location around the world.”
Stabal has established itself as a live performance digital platform, since forming in 2018, delivering over 100 online shows with artists such as 3 Doors Down, Kid Rock, Lee Brice, Bellowhead, Drake White and Chris Tomlin.
Steve Odart, CEO of Stabal came
France - IP video specialist Vitec has announced that Eric Deniau has joined the company as chief technology officer.
“IP video streaming continues to grow across all markets as more and more enterprises harness the power of their networks to deliver and manage video traffic,” said Philippe Wetzel, CEO of Vitec.
“The pace of innovation that is taking place in IPTV is accelerating as organizations across industries elevate their dependence on video streaming.
“Eric will be joining Vitec as CTO to lead technology innovation and R&D efforts worldwide. He has a deep knowledge of software and a sophisticated understanding of hardware products that will enhance the experience and capabilities of Vitec’s talented R&D leadership team. He is tasked with developing the next generation of codecs, ASIC technologies, and software solutions that will power Vitec products for years to come.”
Eric was most recently with Enensys as CTO and has over 30 years of experience in the media industry, including experience managing large software projects for major broadcasters, and has played a major role with the standards communities that have brought interoperable MPEG, DVB and 3GPP technologies to market.
Italy - Pro lighting company Zalight has appointed Luca Di Donato as business development manager.
“To face future challenges the best way, I will have a great friend and one of the best Italian professionals, Luca Di Donato, by my side, comments Zalight owner Graziano Zanini. “Luca has a deep knowledge of the professional market both in the entertainment and architectural fields, due to the many years he spent as commercial manager for companies of international standing. I am sure that together we will bring Zalight to a higher level of diffusion and competitiveness on the Italian market."
"I share with Graziano mutual esteem and identity of views,” says Luca Di Donato. "I’m going to bring my contribution to make Zalight grow and make it evolve into a modern marketing-oriented company following the current path, in which the customer has always been at the very centre.”
France - Arbane Groupe has hired Christophe Palluat de Besset as its sales director for France. Palluat will work to create new sales dynamics within the company and develop commercial activity with the APG and Active Audio brands which are both part of Arbane Group.
With over 25 years of expertise in the AV industry, Palluat brings considerable experience working with audio manufacturers and distributors, notably Arbane Groupe’s Active Audio. “I worked in a number of roles before founding pro-audio distribution company Perfect Sound in 2009,” Palluat explains. “At the time, Active Audio’s commercial distribution in France was given exclusively to Perfect Sound, so I know Active Audio very well.
“I spent 11 years working for Perfect Sound as their CEO and came to know and respect the APG and Active Audio brands beyond their reputations,” said Palluat. “When both brands announced their strategic partnership in 2016, I thought it was the perfect partnership that would pave the way to a great future for both brands. APG’s product lines are excellent and Active Audio is known as the French manufacturer of the world’s largest range of column speakers. My experience tells me that both product lines will perform extremely well in the installation markets for AV integrators.”
Palluat’s immediate goal is to present Arbane Groupe’s comprehensive and complementary audio ranges and services to AV integrators across France and continue to grow the company base and reputation.
“APG benefits from a fantastic reputation with techn
Middle East - Creative Technology Middle East has welcomed two new additions to its operations. Dailos Rodriguez has joined as venue operations manager for the company’s newly-formed venue services department. He has over 24 years of experience in the hospitality and AV industry and has worked across multiple venues. He has secured various high-profile contracts during his time and implemented in-house AV services for some of the Middle East's biggest hotel chains.
Of his appointment, Rodriguez says: "It is a great honour joining the CT team, and I look forward to getting started on the variety of fantastic projects we already have lined up."
Also joining the team is Mark Johnson, who has been appointed business development manager for venue services. With over 19 years of experience in the AV hospitality industry, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role, says the company. Johnson has secured several large-scale contracts across various venues and has been a key factor in the growth and development of many different AV venue services throughout the region. He states: "It's very endearing to be a part of Creative Technology's new Venue Services department from conception! I look forward to accomplishing many new first with CT."
Andrew Reardon, MD for Creative Technology Middle East, comments: "It is an exciting time for the Middle East as we continue to grow and expand our team of professionals and our offering. It is a pleasure to have both Mark and Dailos on board, and I wish them all the best going forward."
Germany - Audio specialist Pan Acoustics has announced that Johannes Kampert has joined the company as head of global sales. In the position he will be responsible for all worldwide sales activity and will drive continued expansion of the global sales network.
“Johannes brings to us vast experience in international sales of complex audio and video networks. His commercial expertise combined with technical know-how is a real benefit to our organization and we are looking forward to working together,”says Udo Borgmann, CEO at Pan Acoustics.
“At Pan Acoustics I found key values that are crucial to me: quality, experience, passion and fun in what you do. I sincerely believe in success through people and in building long term partnerships. Pan Acoustics has an ideal growth perspective and I’m looking forward to each client who wants to work with us now – and in the future,” says Kampert.
South Africa - Professional audio specialists, Stage Audio Works (SAW) have announced the appointment of Lee Thomson to the newly created role of projects sales manager, with Mike Summerfield taking on the post of distribution sales manager. The move follows the decision to restructure the sales operation into two distinct verticals – namely Projects and Distribution – to better serve both markets.
The Projects team will look after markets served directly by SAW; these include key accounts in the houses of worship, themed attractions and casinos, sports, and performing arts sectors. The Distribution team will manage those markets chiefly served through a reseller/integrator channel; namely corporate AV, education, retail, broadcast, plus rental and staging companies.
“Separate teams will allow us better focus on the specific needs of each vertical, which are quite different,” explains group CTO Nathan Ihlenfeldt. “As part of this new organisation, we’re thrilled to welcome on board Lee Thomson to head up the Projects sales division. Lee brings a vast amount of experience and expertise to the SAW family, especially within the worship market which has been a key growth area for us over the last decade, and I know he’ll be a great asset to the team. The Distribution team is in the capable hands of Mike Summerfield, a valued member of our crew who has been with us since 2012.
“While COVID 19 has presented an incredible challenge to our industry as a whole, the diverse market positioning of our group of companies has proven resilient,”
Germany - Stephan Schenk, as general manager global sales & solutions, has taken over responsibility for the worldwide sales and service of ARRI’s hardware products as well as the company’s solutions business. This newly created position aims to combine and align the sales and service activities across all ARRI product groups and expand the systems business across all markets.
In this role, Stephan Schenk reports directly to executive board member Markus Zeiler. He is responsible for all the sales and service departments of the camera systems and lighting business units, including the ARRI System Group in Berlin. Additionally, the regional managers from the Americas, China, East Asia Pacific, and EMEAI will report to Stephan Schenk.
Schenk joined ARRI in 2009, as head of ARRI’s Business Unit Camera Systems. He was appointed to managing director of Arnold & Richter Cine Technik in July 2014.
“From day one, Stephan Schenk has guided the business activities of the Alexa camera platform to great success and has developed the Camera Systems business unit for more than 10 years. The cornerstone was the system concept he initiated for camera, lenses, components, and interfaces,” says Markus Zeiler. “On behalf of ARRI, I would like to sincerely thank Stephan Schenk for his outstanding achievements and services to the company in recent years. We wish him every success in this new area of responsibility.”
Schenk adds: “We have a comprehensive portfolio of camera and lighting systems and strive to combine our products and service
UK - Event Concept has appointed Adam Stanley to the role of managing director at the company. Stanley will succeed founder Mark Beaver and assume responsibilities immediately. Beaver, who established the firm in 1994, will remain within the business in an advisory capacity.
Stanley joined Event Concept in 2013 as a producer. Working on some of the companies most prolific events, he held roles as account director and most recently, commercial director where he presided over three years of growth.
Mark Beaver comments: “I was delighted to ask Adam to take over as managing director - Adam has an unwavering passion for client satisfaction and delivering truly memorable event experiences and I’m thrilled to see where he takes the business next. Under Adam’s leadership, I know our fantastic team will be supported, encouraged and excited for the next chapter of Event Concept.”
Stanley says: “After undoubtedly the toughest year, we really can now see some light at the end of the tunnel. We’re lucky enough to work with the most fantastic clients and I’m proud of our incredible team for their endless determination over the last 12 months and what we’ve accomplished. I’m delighted to take on the new role of managing director and I can’t wait to see where 2021 and beyond takes us.”
Germany - Loudspeaker manufacturer SE Audiotechnik is expanding its sales department, with the appointments of Manfred Sumfleth and Andreas Mayerl to senior positions.
Manfred ‘Manne’ Sumfleth is now representing SE Audiotechnik in the field as sales manager for Germany. He is a long-standing industry expert and previously worked for well-known professional manufacturers of audio products.
Based in Hamburg, he will be advising sound and lighting rental companies, installation companies and system houses throughout Germany on SE audio technology sound reinforcement solutions. In addition, he will manage his own warehouse in order to be able to organise and carry out product presentations at your premises as quickly as possible.
Since February, Andreas Mayerl has been entrusted with opening up new markets and expanding existing ones as sales director export at SE Audiotechnik. Mayerl has been in the music industry since 1986, including many years with HK Audio. As head of international sales, he was responsible for building up their worldwide distribution network.
“We are very proud to have brought on-board such high-calibre sales experts,” says founder and owner Michael von Keitz, “This allows us to bring our products to the market faster and more efficiently, internationally, and to serve our existing customers even better. Especially now, I think you have to invest in the industry and be courageous - so that together we can finally overcome these very tough times.”