SMG hires John Sharkey as executive vice president for European operations

John Sharkey, the former chief executive of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), is to head up facility management company SMG's existing business operations in Europe.

John Sharkey: SMG's executive vice president, European operations
John Sharkey: SMG's executive vice president, European operations

Sharkey was group chief executive at the SECC until April and led the team responsible for the development, funding, construction and opening of the SSE Hydro Arena, which was recently named as the world’s third most successful entertainment venue.

He will take up the role of executive vice president, European operations, on 6 October and had previously hinted at taking on a global role after stepping down from his position as CEO of the SECC.

Since leaving his position at the SECC Sharkey has operated as a consultant and advisor to the conference, exhibition and entertainment industry and related infrastructure projects across the UK, continental Europe and the US. He has also advised some of the world’s largest private equity businesses to find value in this sector.

As part of his remit Sharkey will also be spearheading the business development ambitions for SMG in Europe and Asia.

Wes Westley, SMG president and chief executive, said: "I am delighted to welcome John to the team. He brings with him valuable experience and success across our core strengths as a business and an excellent understanding of the European marketplace.

"We look forward to realising the opportunities which lie ahead for the European business as part of a strong and successful worldwide brand". 

Sharkey added: "I have been privileged during my career with great opportunities and EVP European operations carries on that succession. I am joining a business which has been on a growth curve through strong and weak economic cycles as a result of great strength and depth. I am especially delighted to be joining the European business at what can only be described as a very exciting time with the growth ambitions for the business."

SMG Europe is the UK's largest arena operator. A number of the UK's arena general managers will report to Sharkey, including James Allen from Manchester UK, Ben Williams from Leeds UK, Paul Tappenden from Newcastle UK and Adrian Doyle from Belfast UK.

Colin Revel, vice president special projects UK, Michael Brill, senior vice president new business development – Europe continent and Tracey Short, vice president, international business development Asia, will also report into him.

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