Sean Moriarty, who’s relationship with Ticketmaster Entertainment appeared tenuous once Irving Azoff arrived last fall, has resigned from the company as President and CEO of the Ticketmaster division, the company announced late Monday, March 30.
Moriarty’s resignation came March 24, and he also resigned from the company’s Board of Directors.
In recent months, Moriarty had become conspicuous by his absence since Azoff became CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment, particularly after the announcement of the company’s proposed merger with Live Nation in early February. The situation became especially awkward once Azoff began to publicly criticize one of Moriarty’s signature moves: the acquisition of TicketsNow for $265 million in early 2008.
Azoff testified before Congress that he would not have bought the secondary ticket company, which has become a lightning rod for controversy since the acquisition because customers kept complaining that they were being rerouted from Ticketmaster’s Web site over to TicketsNow, where tickets sell for more money. The company has vigorously denied this charge, but recently settled a complaint by New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram over that very issue in relation to the companies’ handling of the sale of Bruce Springsteen tickets. Ticketmaster did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.
Moriarty steadfastly defended the TicketsNow deal, and admitted publicly that artists and their representatives were the ones posting tickets for sale on TicketsNow or on Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange.
“Sean’s passion for the company and its people has been profound and his leadership, particularly driving product and technology innovation, has led Ticketmaster’s transformation into a major global ecommerce player and created the foundation for Ticketmaster Entertainment to further transform live entertainment,” Azoff said in a statement.
A replacement for Moriarty was not named Monday, and based on a statement by company Chairman Barry Diller, it remains an open question whether one will be hired. While we will miss Sean’s leadership and vision, we are confident that the management team in place, led by Irving Azoff, will help Ticketmaster continue to grow and prosper.”
Ticketmaster and Live Nation hope to close on their proposed deal sometime in the second half of 2009, and with Live Nation establishing its own ticketing operation this year, Ticketmaster may not need to fill Moriarty’s position before the merger becomes final.
“I’ll always be grateful for my time spent at Ticketmaster with its truly outstanding people and I wish the company every success in the future,” Moriarty said in a statement.