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Stechert mourns MD

Franz Stegner, Stechert Group’s long-standing Managing Director, died unexpectedly at the age of 78 on Monday, 22nd June. The Managing Board of Stechert Group and the whole staff issued a statement:

We will miss our Managing Director and leading figure, but above all, we will sorely miss the human Franz Stegner. All employees will always keep him in honourable memory. Our sympathy goes out to his family and relatives. In deep mourning.

Franz Stegner joined Stechert in 1966 and was a member of the management board since 1969. Since then, he and his wife Eva-Maria developed the company from a small supplier to an international well-known enterprise. On this way, he always went ahead with commitment, bravery and foresight.

In the 1990s he decided to produce seats for stadiums and arenas. By equipping the Olympiastadion in Berlin for the 2006 World Cup, he achieved the first big success in that area. Due to his meticulous effort he was able to place “his seats” in most Bundesliga stadiums and World Cup venues in Germany, South Africa and Brazil. Recently he was very proud of being included in the Lexicon of German world market leaders (“Lexikon der deutschen Weltmarktführer”) from Florian Langenscheidt and Prof. Bernd Venohr.

Stegner’s open door

The former upholsterer Franz Stegner came from a humble background and worked hard to climb the ladder of success according to his motto “with luck, mind and God’s hand”. Thereby he always followed his entrepreneurial instinct and stayed true to himself. The greatest achievement for him was to guarantee his loyal employees a safe job for decades.

He always recognised the signs of the times and therefore managed to develop Stechert into a substantial size in the furniture market. By founding the Gössnitzer Stahlrohrmöbel GmbH shortly after German reunification, he established the company quickly in Eastern Germany and strengthened its market position.

By founding two new companies, the STW GmbH and the TIL GmbH, he expanded the portfolio of the Stechert Group again and joined the interior construction market as well as the market of theatre and auditorium seating. With the “Elbphilharmonie” in Hamburg, the “Philharmonie de Paris” by Jean Nouvel and the new Stage “Theater an der Elbe”, the STW already had notable references after a short time.

Franz Stegner was an entrepreneur of the old school. He always put the interests of the company above his own. His door stood always open for the staff and he helped them with words and deeds. Thus, he created an unique atmosphere and team spirit.

Besides his company, he displayed major commitment to social and charity projects. He promoted sport and culture in our region like no one else. Further on, he founded the “Stechert-Stegner- Stiftung” which helps people who suffer hardship through no fault of their own in Franconia, Germany and in the whole world.

For his entrepreneurial achievements he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2003.

Guy Dunstan is new Chair of UK’s National Arenas Association

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Guy Dunstan, General Manager of Arenas, NEC Group, has been appointed as the new Chair of the National Arenas Association (NAA). He takes over the position from outgoing Chair Geoff Huckstep, CEO, Capital FM Arena Nottingham, who has served in the post on his second term for the past two and a half years. Dunstan’s term runs until December 2015. He said:

The NAA has made significant progress with the best interests of the industry at its heart, and I look forward to continuing this important work.

I’ve been on the steering group for the last three years – leading on training and instigating an arenas safety group. We are now launching the Arenas Safety Guide, which I see as a key development for the industry.

As Chair, I would like to see the strengthening of our networks across the industry – we’re already successful with networking in event management, safety, sales and marketing and rigging. I also see a real opportunity to grow networks in areas such as facilities, security, and sustainability.

Another area Guy is passionate on is training within the arenas industry. As lecturer for the European Academy of Venue Management, run by the IAVM (international Association of Venue Managers), he teaches booking and scheduling in arenas, and best practice in customer experience. He added:

Training has always been at the core of what the NAA delivers for its members and we are developing a long term training programme to extend it to other parts of the industry. We do this well for event management, but want to widen the benefits to other areas.

Improving the customer experience should be the main priority of venues. The diversity of the arena programme has changed significantly over the last few years; we attract audiences of different profiles – music, sport, ballet, comedy, etc – and it’s important we share best practice in the customer experience across our industry.

Dunstan concluded:

I thank Geoff Huckstep for his excellent work as outgoing Chair – he is a tough act to follow but I am relishing the challenge of this new role.

Geoff Huckstep, former NAA Chair, and CEO, Capital FM Arena Nottingham, said:

I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Guy. He has been instrumental in driving forward the training and development work on behalf of the NAA and this has earned him the respect of all the members and other significant stakeholders within the live music industry. There is no question that Guy possesses the skills, drive and energy to take the Association forward over the coming years!