Debra Rathwell. Pic: AEG announcement pic
Debra Rathwell. Pic: AEG announcement pic

Canada’s Oversized Footprint On the Global Touring Stage

It's a long story, but it all begins with Michael Cohl who set up Concert Productions International (CPI) in 1973. Add Donald K. Donald in Montreal and a young Labatt's marketing executive by the name of Michael Rapino and you have the beginnings of a story of Canadian entrepreneurship that re-wrote the rule book for global touring. Today, we list the Canadians who are leading the way at AEG Global Touring & Talent and Live Nation Entertainment.

Debra Rathwell – EVP AEG Global Touring & Talent. She began her career in Montreal, working with Donald K. Donald, first as a concert manager and eventually becoming VP of the Concerts division. She joined Metropolitan Entertainment in NYC in 1994 and moved to AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) as SVP in 2002, opening its New York office. She was most recently SVP, Global Touring and Talent.

Michael Rapino – Born in Thunder Bay, he has climbed through the ranks of Labatt Breweries, SFX Entertainment, Clear Channel Communications to become CEO of Live Nation worldwide in 2005.

Arthur Fogel – A former drummer from Ottawa who went on to be famously called the “most important person in the live music world” by Bono in a documentary movie called Who the F**k Is Arthur Fogel, he is the CEO of the Live Global Touring division of Live Nation Entertainment and the chairman of its Global Music group. Like many Canadians in the US concert business, Fogel rose to prominence with Michael Cohl’s Concert Productions International (CPI) and, later, as president of The Next Adventure (TNA).

Elliott Lefko – The former Toronto born concert promoter is now VP, Talent – Goldenvoice/AEG Live in California.

Steve Herman – Sr. VP, Touring, Live Nation. Originally from North Bay, Herman came through the ranks to become CEO of The Agency and joined Live Nation in 2009 as President of Artist Service and within a short time joined the company’s touring division.

John Hopmans – appointed Executive VP, Mergers and Acquisitions and Strategic Finance at Live Nations in April 2008, but started his professional career with a BA from the U of Guelph.

Bret Gallagher – president of Southern California Live Nation, he was previously president of the concert company’s Eastern Canada division and prior to that served as. VP of Concert and Events at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Omar Al-Joulani – Earlier in life worked as an assistant to Colin Lewis (see below), then an agent with The Agency in Canada. He is now a Sr. VP of Touring at Live Nation Entertainment in the US.

Colin Lewis – Vice President in the touring division at Live Nation based in Beverly Hills, he had his start at The Agency in Canada.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Wilgar – Sr. VP, Head of Marketing - International, for Live Nation Entertainment and based out of the UK. She started her professional career after graduating from the U of Western Ontario and working with Coca Cola and Labatt Breweries in Canada.

Joey Scoleri – Toronto born and raised and known to many seasoned Q107 listeners by his on-air name ‘Joey Vendetta’, he moved to the US to join Disney Music Group for 12 years as SVP Promotion & Marketing, plus10 years as SVP Marketing at Live Nation North America in LA before returning home. He is back in Toronto as Live Nations Canada’s Head of Industry Relations and still very connected to the North American live circuit.

Honourable mention:

Michael Cohl –The Toronto-born entertainment mogul created Concert Productions International (CPI) in 1973 and went on through various companies to become the go-to promoter for global tours by top echelon stars such as U2, Madonna, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones. He broke the mold on how tours were strapped together first in Canada, then North America and then the world. He also revolutionized the music merchandising business and became a successful theatrical producer with shows in London’s West End and Broadway. He continues to promote select shows through S2BN Entertainment and, recently, became involved in Civilized, a pot marketing firm started in St. John, NB.

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