|Roger Maslin- Managing Director, Wembley Stadium|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 08 October 2012 14:32
Roger Maslin is the Managing Director of Wembley Stadium.
By hosting a diverse blend of world-class events and ensuring that every member of Club Wembley feels individually valued, Roger launched a vision that pictures Wembley delivering the best stadium entertainment in the world,
Initially, Roger joined Wembley Stadium as Finance Director in February 1999, proving instrumental in developing the business plan and the funding structure, which was underwritten by the German Bank, West LB, in September 2002 and refinanced in September 2008. He was also responsible for a number of operational areas during the redevelopment phase.
Prior to his adventure with Wembley Stadium, Roger spent 10 years in the booze industry, acting as Finance Controller for over a hundred markets across the globe, and as the Finance Director of United Distillers in Mexico and Managing Director of European Duty Free in Hamburg. After the announcement of the merger between Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997, Roger became Integration and Finance Director of the Duty Free Division, responsible for the integration of Diageo's Duty Free Spirits across the globe.
Roger started his career as a Chartered Accountant, but his interest in chemistry and particularly alcohol, pulled him towards Courage and then Guinness Brewing, before moving to the whisky giant United Distillers in 1991.
What have you learned after five years of running the stadium?
I have learnt that we’ve got this fantastic asset and that we can absolutely deliver on our vision, in terms of turning Wembley into the best stadium experience in the world. To do this, we need to deliver the best possible service to our event owners and to our Club Wembley members. We need to provide the best calendar of events and maintain a world class stadium.
As Wembley, we don’t own any events but facilitate them on behalf of our event owners. We aim to put our various event owners at the forefront of our business and really try to deliver on service. We’ve learnt a lot of things in terms of how we approach event owners, understanding what they want to achieve from their events and then doing what we can as a stadium to make them feel that it is their event.
Although we don’t own any events ourselves, we do own Club Wembley, which is our 5k exclusive membership that owns the 17k seats in the middle tier of the stadium and who have basically funded the project.
For Club Wembley it’s a question of delivering the best calendar of events and delivering value in everything we do. It is about trying to make 5k members and their guests feel individually special. We have to attract the very best events and we are in a fantastic position to do so because we have a brilliant asset that was built to be the place to perform for all types of events. Also, we need to keep the stadium relevant and world class.
Looking at the five-year journey, there were a lot assumptions made at the beginning, but we’ve tailored our service and we really understand the building- it’s an extremely efficient beast. We need to continue to develop the best possible stadium facilities and the environment locally to make sure that we can continue progressing and play our part in the community.
What would you do differently if you had the opportunity to start again with the knowledge that you have now?
I’m the granddaddy of the project, having been around for fourteen years. It depends what stage you are looking at. It took 3 years to September 2002 to get the financing and there were a number of aspects which you might have chosen to do differently but hindsight is a great thing. The key is to learn and move forward which we have done.
In terms of the operation, the stadium that we actually designed and built is frankly a brilliant asset, so there’s not a lot that you would want to change. But, there are two issues which have come through to the fore, with technology moving on so much. I guess we would have opened with a Desso pitch. There are good reasons why we had the pitch that we did, in terms of absolute flexibility, but the Desso pitch has actually proved very flexible and it is the best surface for us to deliver our multi-use business plan. A Desso pitch from day one would have saved me some heartache for sure!
As well, to be a little bit more flexible in terms of a closing roof. The technology has moved on so much that we could have probably had a fully-closing roof. You can have something not dissimilar to Wimbledon or other designs that have a much lighter technology. But, we designed the building all those years ago and it was the best technology at the time so, there wasn’t really a business case to have a closing roof at that stage.