In a hire likely to raise eyebrows across the exhibition sector, theater giant Vue has tapped seasoned cinema veteran Matt Eyre as its new chief operating officer.
Eyre replaces Claire Arksey, who recently stepped down from Vue after joining in 2022. No reason was given for Arksey’s departure.
With more than 35 years of experience working with major cinema chains, Eyre spent 19 years at Cineworld, where most recently he oversaw operations as chief operating officer for Regal in the U.S. following Cineworld’s $3.6 billion acquisition of the company in 2017. Eyre, who joins Vue on March 25, will be responsible for all cinema operations across the group, which is the largest privately owned cinema operator in Europe, and will also join the company board.
“I am delighted to be welcoming Matt to Vue,” said Tim Richards, Vue founder and chief executive officer. “He is one of the best known and most highly respected cinema operators in the world with an incredible 35 years of operational and industry experience. His appointment puts us in an excellent position to continue our growth as Europe’s leading cinema operator and to provide our customers with the very best in the big screen experience.”
Eyre will report to Richards, whom he joins on the Vue board alongside chief financial officer Alison Cornwell as well as Vue’s existing senior leadership team.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Vue at such an exciting time for the organization,” said Eyre, who started his career at Warner Bros., where he remained for 16 years overseeing operations across 237 locations and 10 countries, later becoming co-CEO of the Mann Theatres chain in California. “I am looking forward to working with Tim and the Vue team, drawing on my extensive experience in cinema operations to ensure we’re well-placed for the future.”
The hire comes alongside the news that has Vue received unanimous consent from its lenders and shareholders for a recapitalization that will inject £50 million ($62 million) of cash into the business. The company’s second debt-for-equity swap in 18 months, announced in January, was arranged in the wake of the 2023 writers and actors strikes that saw many major releases pushed back. Vue says the transaction is expected to complete later this month.
“Whilst the transaction has not yet completed, I would like to extend a huge thanks to our lenders and shareholders for their confidence in us, our management team and the industry as a whole,” said Richards. “This ensures the business has the right capital structure and delivers a strong foundation for the future.”