As part of its ongoing work to redefine and expand the role of arts management in the 21st century, Askonas Holt Ltd. announces today the creation of a new position on its leadership team, Director, Global Head of Strategy & Innovation, and the appointment of Sean Michael Gross to it. With his arrival in London this December, Sean will become the first external hire immediately to join the Askonas Holt Board of Directors and will report to Chief Executive Donagh Collins.

Sean comes to Askonas Holt from 21C Media Group, where he is currently one of four principals and serves as Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer. In his new role as Askonas Holt’s lead strategist, he will work alongside Donagh and the board to realise a future for the company that strengthens its position as a global leader in artist management and touring, while also developing new and innovative ways to serve its clients and the international performing arts community.

Donagh Collins says, “In the fast-changing world we live in, it is vital that we at Askonas Holt continue to develop our offer to clients, become more globally and socially conscious, and seize on opportunities presented by emerging trends and technologies. We take pride in how we nurture artists throughout their careers and have an excellent foundation on which to build. By conceiving this new position and appointing Sean, who is a proven leader and innovator in our field, we hope to create an even brighter future for Askonas Holt and an enhanced model for arts management.”

Sean Michael Gross adds, “Having collaborated with the Askonas Holt team for more than a decade, I have long admired their integrity, passion, and commitment to quality artistry. I am thrilled to be joining the company’s leadership and look forward to working with Donagh to create initiatives that not only benefit Askonas Holt and its clients, but also help our industry as a whole thrive.”

Named one of Musical America’s 30 Professionals of the Year in 2017, Sean is credited with spearheading 21C Media Group’s transformation over the past decade into a fully integrated public relations and digital agency, allowing the leading New York- based firm and its clients to flourish in a rapidly changing environment. In his 11 years with 21C, Sean contributed to the firm’s consistent growth by diversifying its services beyond publicity and forging relationships with prominent artists including Daniel Barenboim, Plácido Domingo, Elīna Garanča, the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, Anna Netrebko, and Michael Tilson Thomas. He has lectured at conferences ranging from MIDEM to the League of American Orchestras and since 2017 has served on the guest faculty of Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Prior to joining 21C, Sean worked at IMG Artists in New York. Since stepping up as Chief Executive in 2014, Donagh has led a number of initiatives designed to deepen Askonas Holt’s relationships with clients, grow the company, and increase its global presence. These include a major expansion of its touring business in China, the Americas, and the Middle East; a realignment of its board leadership; a rebranding; and a modernisation of its technological infrastructure and business operations.

With a history dating back to 1876, Askonas Holt Ltd. is an established leader in classical music and performing arts management. Based in London and working worldwide, the company nurtures established and emerging talent through personal, bespoke management, and arranges international tours for renowned orchestras and dance companies. The company’s board includes Donagh Collins, Mark Hildrew, Gaetan Le Divelec, Sue Spence, Joel Thomas, and Celia Willis. In recognition of his excellent work leading the Tours & Projects division, Sergio Porto Bargiela will be promoted to Director effective October 2018.


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