Consultant claimed MCD associate ‘maligned’ industry figures

Concert promoter facing complaints of ‘abrasive management behaviour’

Concert promoter MCD runs the Electric Picnic festival. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Concert promoter MCD runs the Electric Picnic festival. Photograph: Dave Meehan

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Concert promoter MCD Productions, which runs the Electric Picnic festival, is investigating claims that a person linked to the business “maligned” some music industry figures on social media.

The claims about some people being “vilified” on sites such as Twitter and Facebook came to light during the summer in a consultant’s review of the culture in MCD, which is controlled by US events giant Live Nation Entertainment of Beverly Hills, California. The consultant subsequently contacted people outside MCD and asked to speak to them in connection with the claims.

MCD is the biggest promoter in the State and Live Nation is one of the most powerful organisations in the global music business, with 500 million annual ticket sales before the pandemic. Co-founder of MCD Denis Desmond said this week that the company was facing complaints of “abrasive management behaviour” in the business but he did not elaborate.

Now correspondence has emerged in which a human resources consultant – Peter Ryan of Dublin firm RA Consulting – told people in the music industry of concerns within the company about some posts on social media.

“By way of introduction, I am retained by MCD Productions to provide HR and related consultancy services to the company,” Mr Ryan said in email seen by The Irish Times.

“In undertaking a review of the organisational culture, a number of personnel advised that you had been maligned by an MCD associate on social media (Twitter and/or Facebook),” he said.

“You will appreciate that the company was most concerned to learn of this and is committed to ensuring that nobody is vilified by staff or associates.”

Declined to comment

Contacted on Wednesday on the mobile phone number he gave on the email, Mr Ryan declined to comment on any aspect of his work for MCD.

He told recipients that he would welcome an opportunity to discuss the claims by phone, Zoom or in person “and will be pleased to work around your availability”.

The correspondence went out in August, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the email. One of the recipients, who was not aware of the source of an anonymous tweet, is known to have spoken with Mr Ryan but declined to assist him in his work.

Another music industry figure outside MCD, who was not sent the email, acknowledged taking a phone call from Mr Ryan in connection with an organisational audit he was carrying out for the company.

A spokeswoman for Live Nation Entertainment and MCD did not answer or return phone calls on Wednesday and there was no reply to questions sent by email, though the company did write to The Irish Times.

In the letter, the company cautioned The Irish Times and took issue with the efforts that had been made to put questions to the company, saying it had made clear that an investigation was under way and should be allowed to finish.

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