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Really Useful Group announces management shake-up

Andrew Lloyd Webber Andrew Lloyd Webber. Photo: Lucy Sewill
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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group has announced a major restructure of its management team, in a move that sees the creative and corporate duties split for the first time.

Max Alexander, former managing director of TalkTalk, will join RUG as managing director. He will have responsibility for the corporate side of the business, such as branding deals and music publishing.

Jessica Koravos, formerly RUG vice president, Europe and America, becomes president and takes on responsibility for overseeing productions and professional licensing.

Previously, both strands of the business were overseen by one person, most recently Barney Wragg as managing director, who left earlier this year.

Alexander will report to executive chairman Mark Wordsworth, while Koravos, who joined the company in 2013, will report directly to Lloyd Webber.

Koravos will work on the “creative hub” of the business, including all professional productions. Her team will also work with Lloyd Webber on the development of new work, particularly for the St James Theatre, which Lloyd Webber recently purchased.

Wordsworth told The Stage that Alexander’s role would oversee areas of the business that “take a longer time to build up”, such as branding, digital content and the rights side of the organisation, and that he would be responsible for growing revenues in these areas.

Currently, 80% of the company’s revenue comes from its professional productions. Wordsworth said he would like to see Alexander grow the remaining 20% to 50% in 10 years’ time, and to 80% in 20 years’ time.

“In the past, both roles would have been across one person’s desk, but we have been looking at this in the past few months and it has highlighted to us the need to have two roles,” he said.

He added that there had been a growth in demand for the productions that RUG oversees, particularly on the touring circuit, but said that meant “all the energy and resources, both financial and human” tended to go into this side of the business.

“If just one senior person is charged with overseeing both, they don’t think about what will be happening in three or five years’ time. Twenty percent of our income comes from things other than our productions, and one day they will be a lot more important. You can’t just have one man or woman responsible for everything,” he said.

Alexander’s role will also focus on collecting intelligence about audiences to consider how the company interacts with theatregoers. He will also have a remit to develop other areas such as films and television content.

Wordsworth said this meant Alexander would take a more long-term overview of the business, whereas Koravos would be thinking about the day-to-day aspects of the company.

When Wragg announced his departure earlier this year, RUG said he had “completed the task of reorganising” the company. His departure followed news that RUG was closing its Asia Pacific office.

Wordsworth also said that RUG would remain distinct from Really Useful Theatres, “with separate teams”.

“RUT is a venue owner and operator. The skill set on the team needed for that is wholly different from that needed to put on productions and managing content,” he said.

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