Vivid Seats has announced the hiring of Stan Chia as new Chief Executive Officer, joining the Chicago-based ticket resale company from Grubhub, where he had served as Chief Operating Officer. Co-founders Eric Vassilatos, who had been CEO, and Jerry Bednyak will serve as co-chairmen of the board of directors after transferring operations to the Chia.
During his tenure at Grubhub, Chia was tasked with growing the company’s network of restaurants to feed its delivery network. Prior to that, he worked at Amazon, Cisco, and General Electric.
“Stan’s experience driving incremental growth, strategic partnership development and innovative operations makes him an ideal fit to further advance Vivid Seats and the ticket purchasing,” said Mr. Bednyak in a press release issued to announce the hire. “I am confident that he’ll take the company to the next phase of its corporate evolution and look forward to working with him.”
The transition from the co-founders to Chia will take place at some point in November, according to the release, after he has wound down his current work at Grubhub. He worked at the food delivery company for three years, promoted to his current position a year ago.
“The online live events space is very exciting, it’s a great company with wonderful prospects,” Chia told Crain’s Chicago Business. “Grubhub was an amazing place, and the opportunity was phenomenal. I was really excited to lead a tech company in an industry I’m excited about.”
The challenges that await the industry newbie are well known. Crain’s reporting points out that Vivid Seats, which has paid major bounties to land official partnerships with ESPN, Fox Sports, and other operations, is “competing in an increasingly fragmented ticket resale game.” Rival operations on both the resale side and an increasingly territorial primary ticketing world looking to box out competition make for a tough go in ticketing.
The company pinning its hopes on his ability to duplicate his track record at Grubhub. “Stan took us from zero to $1.6 billion in delivered food,” Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney told Crain’s. “He’s leaving behind an incredible team.”
Vassilatos and Benyak were hailed by the company’s majority stakeholder in the announcement of the change. “We want to thank Eric and Jerry for being great partners, and we look forward to continuing to work with them,” said Lawrence Fey, Managing Director at GTCR, which owns much of Vivid Seats alongside Vista Equity partners. “They have built an exceptional company that is now in a very strong market position.”