RICOH Arena boss Andy Gibb is to leave the company amid restructuring moves to ‘merge’ the stadium’s management firm more with parent company Wasps’ business, we can reveal.
He has been managing director of Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) since March 2015, and will leave in the coming days.
Asked by the Coventry Observer about speculation, Nick Eastwood, Wasps group chief executive provided the following statement…
It reads: “As we are all aware, we have made huge strides in the last two and a half years, since Wasps acquired the Ricoh Arena.
“For the next stage of its development and growth, we need to complete the merger of the two organisations so that we operate as a single business entity.
“On that basis, we have agreed with Andy Gibb that it makes sense for him to move on from the business and seek bigger and better opportunities elsewhere.
“Andy has played a pivotal role in the success of the move and the development of the ACL business and we wish him all the very best for the next stage of his career.”
It is unclear precisely what is meant by the “merger” of the businesses under any cost-cutting restructure, as in law the two companies would have to continue as separate legal entities.
The Wasps group, which includes ACL and Wasps Holdings Limited – formerly London Wasps Holdings Limited until after the stadium company’s sale in 2014 by Coventry City Council – recorded rising costs and annual losses last year of £3.8million, despite an upturn in revenue.
It also reported debts of over £43million, mainly residing in a retail bond scheme issued by a separate company, Wasps Finance plc.
Last week, we revealed further delays in Wasps’ £7million plans to controversially move its training facilities into the Alan Higgs Centre home of Coventry City Football Club’s purpose-built youth academy – which is now set to remain there for another season.
Wasps Holding Limited’s group accounts for the year which ended in June last year reported a 44 per cent upturn in revenues, to £30.9million.
It included £5.2m from ACL; and £13.8m for IEC Experience Limited (a joint venture on events and conferencing with catering company Compass).
But substantially rising costs – of staging events, management and salaries – explained the ongoing losses, which were up from £2.4million the previous year.
Wages and salaries rose by £5million to £17million, with the highest paid director receiving £407,255 for the year.