Darren Burden has been appointed as project executive director for SMG at Kai Tak Sports Park in Hong Kong.
Due to open in 2023, Burden leads venue management and operations as part of the design, build, operate contract for the 28 hectare precinct which comprises a 50,000 seat stadium, 10,000 capacity arena, 5,000 seat public sports ground, 60,000m2 of retail space, and public open spaces.
Darren has most recently worked as a consultant for the NSW Government, leading the business case for the redevelopment of ANZ Stadium, the former Olympic Stadium, in Sydney and prior to that as an operations adviser on the newly completed Bankwest Stadium in Western Sydney.
Until July 2018 Darren spent nearly five years as chief executive of Vbase, manager of Christchurch’s leading venues including Horncastle Arena, AMI Stadium, Hagley Oval, Air Force Museum Wigram, and the Christchurch Town Hall.
With such a diversity of venues the company delivered over 700 events annually – always through its mantra of “make life more eventful”.
Before moving to Vbase Burden spent seven years in Dunedin, firstly working as the chief executive of the trust established to masterplan and build Forsyth Barr Stadium in time for Rugby World Cup 2011. Latterly he was the Chief Executive of Dunedin Venues, operator of the stadium as well as the Dunedin Centre and Town Hall.
Burden has been involved in a number of other venue developments including the redevelopment of Christchurch Town Hall, the major refurbishment of the Dunedin Centre and the opening of Hagley Oval in time for Cricket World Cup 2015.
At the end of 2016 he was named ‘Venue Executive of the Year’ and ‘Supreme Venue Person of the Year’ by the Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand at their annual awards. In 2018 Burden was named as Asia Pacific ‘Venue Professional of the Year’ by the Venue Management Association.
Darren originally trained as a surveyor in the UK holding a degree in Building Surveying and becoming a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Subsequently he became a Project Director for one of the largest construction consultancies in the UK. He holds an MBA and was previously Deputy Chair of YHA NZ.
The Kai Tak Sports Park groundbreaking ceremony was held on 23 April.