Ahead of several major forays into the live entertainment space, Winarch Capital and its newly-formed Cedar Mill Group are reshaping its executive team, and handing Kyle McKendry the reins.
Announced Wednesday (Feb. 16) McKendry is named to the dual role as CEO of both Cedar Mill Group and its parent Winarch Capital, the Newcastle-based property group, as five new hires join the business, including longtime Live Nation senior executive, Ewen Craig.
McKendry joined Cedar Mill Group as COO in 2019, after almost two decades with Roche Group, the giant property development group, where he guided the business’ expansion into live events, tourism and entertainment.
In his new role, McKendry will oversee Winarch Capital after the property group last month secured more than $120 million in industrial land sales on the NSW Central Coast.
With its growing portfolio of interests, Cedar Mill Group will push ahead with its plans for two, multi-million-dollar live entertainment and tourism precincts in Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley, the first of which goes to a final council vote on Monday (Feb. 21), a spokesman confirms.
McKendry’s elevation is acknowledgment of his pivotal role in the company’s ventures into new categories and markets through acquisitions, including the 2021 purchase of event management and production planning company Humm, which is rebranded as Humm Events.
“Kyle’s input strategically has been invaluable in shaping our path into the tourism and events sector,” Winarch Capital Chairman Paul Lambess.
“Coupled with his experience in property development, it was an obvious choice to offer him the CEO role of both Winarch Capital and Cedar Mill Group.”
McKendry is said to be scouting for future Cedar Mill sites on both sides of the Tasman.
As McKendry rises up the ladder, several key employees join the company as it “prepares for further expansion and the return of live events as restrictions continue to ease,” a statement reads.
Among the new arrivals is Ewen Craig, who joins the business after more than 12 years with Live Nation Australasia where he served as Head of Tour Accounting.
Craig, whose CV includes stints with V Festival, The Coca-Cola Company, Modular Music, and the Paul Dainty Corporation, is named as Director of Commercial Operations.
“I am thrilled to be joining such a great team of industry specialists and getting in on the ground floor of two truly amazing projects, Lake Macquarie 30,000 seat amphitheatre and the Hunter Valleys 22,000 seat amphitheatre,” he says in a statement.
“Paul and Kyle have given me an amazing opportunity to be at the forefront of these two projects and what will become a network of quality outdoor venues,” he adds.
Also joining the company is Paul Corcoran, OAM, who becomes Director of Risk Management for the newly formed Cedar Mill Risk Management; Andrew McKinnon, who is named as National Operations Manager across both Cedar Mill Group and Humm Events; Mark “Trogg” Svendsen, who joins Humm Events as Event Director; and David Fortescue, who comes on board at Humm Events as a Project Manager.
Fortescue has a live music pedigree, having previously worked for concert promoters and venue operators including TEG Live, TEG Dainty and Qudos Bank Arena.
“Cedar Mill Group is gearing up for exponential growth over the next five years,” McKendry enthuses, “and we are incredibly lucky to have secured some seasoned and experienced players in the events industry to help us facilitate that growth, to ensure we deliver world-class facilities and experiences for the public as our venues open and events kick-off in 2022 and beyond.”
Cedar Mill Group recently acquired one of the Hunter Valley’s premium development sites for its second purpose-built outdoor amphitheatre and tourism project Cedar Mill Hunter Valley, expected to open in 2023 at a cost of $107 million.
Designs include a new 22,000-capacity concert venue, along with a 100-bed hotel, specialist food and beverage, a wine museum and multiple cellar doors.
Earlier, the business struck a $235 million redevelopment deal for Morisset Golf Course. In time, the site will be rebranded as Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie, with plans for a 30,000 person concert venue, cafes and restaurants, accommodation and Australia’s largest aquatic play park.