Dunedin Venues Management Ltd's new chief executive, Terry
Davies, hopes sweeping changes will bring ''A-grade'' acts
to Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The new broom in charge of Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium
says the venue can still find success by attracting more big
concerts and creating ''iconic'' events.
Terry Davies (53), an English-born former cricketer working
as an event and venue manager in Australia, started work as
Dunedin Venues Management Ltd's chief executive this week.
Mr Davies is the company's third chief executive in less than
two years, following David Davies and Darren Burden, and
arrives as DVML faces predicted losses totalling $3.8 million
over the next three years.
However, Mr Davies yesterday told the Otago Daily
Times he aimed to lift DVML's performance, including by
breathing new life into staff ''smashed'' by years of public
He would also sharpen the company's commercial focus and
encourage the community to be proud of their stadium, in part
by targeting more big concerts and creating new ''iconic''
events for the venue.
That work had already begun and DVML staff were negotiating a
possible ''A-grade'' concert for the roofed venue, Mr Davies
He would not be drawn on details, but said the concert - if
confirmed - would be bigger than Sir Elton John's 2011
''I'm talking about a performer, or an act, that will sell
out within three hours. It's an international act.''
And, despite past criticism of the stadium as a concert
venue, Mr Davies still saw a future for the roofed venue
hosting major acts.
It was ''realistic'' to hope to attract at least one A-grade
concert every year or two, while, at the next level down, he
planned to target more performers of the calibre of Sir Elton
or Neil Diamond.
''We can get them and we'd be aiming at getting as many of
those shows as we can.''
He also welcomed the Dunedin City Council's stadium review,
launched earlier this year, but said DVML's finances would
remain challenging as long as it had to pay $4 million in
rent each year to service stadium debts.
Unless ''common sense'' prevailed, he expected DVML's ''best
scenario'' would be a break-even result.
''We need to get that model right.''
His comments came after Mr Davies was confirmed as Mr
Burden's replacement last month, beating 45 other candidates
to secure an open-ended contract worth up to $225,000 a year.
And, after the departure of two DVML chief executives in
quick succession, Mr Davies said he would be in no rush to
He planned to buy a house once his wife - and possibly one of
his three adult children - joined him in the city in a few
''I'm committed to stay as long as the board want me here and
as long as I think there's a challenge here.''
Mr Davies had moved to Dunedin from Australia, where he
settled in 1986 after a career as a professional cricketer at
the Glamorgan County Cricket Club in Wales.
In Australia, he joined the Pacific Dunlop Group clothing
company, working for Bonds, before a 15-year stint with the
South Australian Cricket Association, which ran the Adelaide
He was the association's marketing, memberships and
commercial operations manager, as well as its deputy chief
executive, as the ground built a reputation for hosting major
events, including AC/DC, Pearl Jam and Fleetwood Mac concerts
and Ashes cricket tests.
In 2010, he transferred to Etihad Stadium, in Melbourne, for
a year-long stint as its commercial operations general
manager, responsible for venue membership clubs, corporate
hospitality and sponsorships.
He became the South Australian Tourism Commission's event
strategy manager in 2011, overseeing a strategic plan for
events and their commercialisation, before taking ''time
out'' to help his children launch a retail business.
Mr Davies said he was looking for a chance to move back into
venue management when the Dunedin opportunity emerged.
He was encouraged by the idea of tapping into a ''parochial''
region that would rally around big events, and the chance to
''What I like about here is we're a bit underdone. I think
there's an opportunity to do a couple of things.''
He was aware of the stadium's rocky history - ''everyone's
been beaten around the head by it'' - but wanted to encourage
the community to be proud of the venue.
He also hoped to meet long-time stadium critic Bev Butler as
part of a push to be more open and transparent.
DVML was responsible for a suite of venues including
Dunedin's town hall, which Mr Davies said was an
''unbelievable'' asset that was underutilised but had
''phenomenal'' potential for growth.
He hoped Dunedin could follow Adelaide's lead in creating
festival-style events, particularly with a large student
population on the stadium's doorstep.
Initial ideas included a festival of concerts around
Orientation Week, partnerships with the likes of the fashion
industry, or creating new events that could grow, he said.
''We'd love to build some iconic events ... whatever that is,
it's an in-your-diary event that's at Forsyth Barr
Terry Davies (53)
2011-12 South Australian Tourism Commission events
2010 Etihad Stadium (Melbourne) sales and marketing
2006-10 South Australia Cricket Association commercial
operations general manager and deputy chief executive.
1995-2006 SACA marketing and membership manager.
1994-95 Bonds clothing company business manager.
1992-94 Bonds special projects executive.1987-90 Bonds
major account executive.
1980-86 Glamorgan Country Cricket Club professional