Co-op Live boss resigns just days before venue’s official opening

Gary is a goner.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 26th April 2024

The boss of Co-op Live, Manchester’s enormous, ground-breaking new arena, has resigned from his position just days before the venue is set to open.

The enormous music-first arena has been taking shape beside the Etihad Stadium for several years, and was due to welcome its first official audiences this week, but has been hit with last-minute challenges.

And now Co-op Live‘s boss Gary Roden has quit the mammoth project, with the news of his resignation announced late Thursday evening.

Oak View Group, which Co-op Live is part of, said in a statement that they would like to ‘thank Gary for his help bringing the UK’s newest arena to live entertainment fans’.

Stepping into his shoes as interim general manager will be Rebecca Kane Burton, who previously ran the U.K.’s highest-grossing venue, London’s The O2 arena.


Gary has previously come under fire for saying that some grassroots music venues ‘poorly run’ – a statement that OVG has now distanced itself from.

A separate statement said that ‘neither Co-op Live nor Oak View Group share the sentiment expressed by former Co-op Live General Manager Gary Roden regarding the grassroots industry’.


It continued: “As OVG Chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke has repeatedly stated, Co-op Live remains committed to grassroots music in Manchester and beyond, including teaming up with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham on the Artist of the Month campaign, and as a founding partner of Beyond The Music.

“Co-op Live also donates over £1m a year to the Co-op Foundation to support communities and empower young people to take social action through its new Young Gamechangers fund.

“Oak View Group and Co-op Live remain happy to meet with grassroots organisations once the venue is fully operational.”


The news of the venue’s boss stepping down comes at a time when all eyes are on Co-op Live, the opening of which has been delayed.

The Co-op Live’s opening event – two nights with Bolton comic legend Peter Kay – was pushed back due to ‘power supply issues’.

The venue did host a test event with Rick Astley last weekend, but even that faced difficulties, with thousands of tickets cancelled to reduce capacity just hours before showtime.

It’s now set to officially open this Saturday 27 April with a performance by rock group The Black Keys.

The full statement from OVG about Gary’s resignation said: “Gary Roden has decided to resign. We’d like to thank Gary for his help bringing the UK’s newest arena to live entertainment fans and wish him the best for the future.


“Rebecca Kane Burton has been named Interim GM, effective today. Rebecca is a seasoned veteran of venue management and live entertainment in the UK having served as VP/GM of The O2 from 2012-2016 and CEO of LW Theatres from 2016-2021.

“We are focused on opening Co-op Live.”

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Featured image: The Manc Group