Richard Clarke has been appointed head of major events at ATEED following his stellar successes overseeing the New Zealand Breakers and Brisbane Bullets basketball franchises.
The experienced senior executive led the Breakers to four Australian NBL titles – the first New Zealand sporting franchise to win a trans-Tasman competition – before leaving Auckland in 2016 to help rebuild the lacklustre Bullets.
He will steer Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development through some of the biggest events in Aotearoa’s history over the next two years.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2021 will be the largest event ever hosted by the nation, involving a year of hosting from December 2020 to November 2021 culminating Leaders’ Week in Auckland from 8-14 November 2021.
Sailing’s highest-profile global event, the 36th America’s Cup, will also be held in the city from January 2021, delivering an estimated $1 billion to New Zealand’s economy.
And in the same year Auckland will host Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadrons 150th anniversary, fixtures for the Women’s Rugby and Cricket World Cups, the World Softball Championships and the national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini.
Steve Armitage, general manager for destination, said: “ATEED is delighted to have secured someone of Richard Clarke’s proven ability and mana to lead our major events team as we prepare for the unprecedented ‘mega’ year that will be 2021.
“Auckland has established a global reputation as a world-class major events city in the past decade, and alongside our many partners have demonstrated how important events are as a lever for our region’s sustainable economic development – for providing jobs and tens of millions in new spending each year.
“We look forward to Richard bringing his leadership and experience in building values and culture-based organisations to bear at ATEED as we continue to deliver Council’s vision for a world-class Auckland.
“Richard has a strong platform on which to do this, thanks to the work of Rebecca Temple, who has done an excellent job as acting head of major events, and the ATEED major events team.”
Clarke will take up the reins in January and says he is excited about the opportunity to help deliver a world-class events portfolio which “enhances Auckland’s global reputation as a leading major events destination”.
“This really is a unique opportunity and I am incredibly excited to be involved in continuing to make Auckland one of the best cities in the world to live in and visit, and to be part of a team that is already delivering outstanding results,” he said.
“The challenges and opportunities in the events program in the immediate future are incredible and I can’t wait to get involved.
“Living away from Auckland for three and a half years has given me fresh perspective on how much the city has to offer and this is an amazing opportunity to return home and be part of Auckland’s growth and vibrancy.”