Geoff Huckstep, Chief Executive of the National Ice Centre and Motorpoint Arena Nottingham is to retire after almost 15 years at the helm at the East Midland’s premier leisure and entertainment venue.

Geoff took over as Chief Executive in October 2001 following a successful career at London Irish and London Wasps – two of the country’s top professional rugby teams. He has been pivotal in positioning the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham (formerly known as Nottingham Arena) into the premier league of UK arenas and his commercial acumen and inspirational leadership style has achieved outstanding results in all areas of the business.

Martin Ingham, the current Deputy CEO & Finance Director will take up the role on an interim basis.

Mich Stevenson OBE, Chairman of the National Ice Centre & Motorpoint Arena Nottingham said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Geoff over the past 15 years. He has transformed the performance of the business and leaves behind a significantly more effective and successful organisation – a legacy he can be rightly proud of. He has been a dedicated, professional and charismatic leader and on behalf of the Board I would like to wish him the best of luck for the future and hope he enjoys a long and healthy retirement”.

Nottingham City Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Graham Chapman, said: “The National Ice Centre and Arena has turned into one of Nottingham’s great success stories over the last 15 years and Geoff Huckstep has played a big part in that. The vision for the venue when it was built was to create a popular attraction right in the heart of the city centre and that’s certainly what it has become under his leadership.

“As well as a long list of world famous music stars who have played the Arena, around 130,000 skaters use the National Ice Centre every year, more than double the figure for the old ice stadium.

“In particular, Geoff has been instrumental in ensuring the financial viability of the venue, particularly through a successful merchandising offer which is now being provided for other large venues in the UK including arenas in Glasgow and Liverpool and The O2 Arena in London.

“The city owes Geoff a huge debt of gratitude and we wish him all the very best for the future.”

Geoff said, “Over the past 14 plus years I have had the honour and privilege of leading a team of outstanding colleagues who have shared the same vision as myself in establishing the National Ice Centre and Motorpoint Arena as a venue capable of hosting truly world-class bands and artistes, whilst also fulfilling its role as a national centre of excellence for ice sports for people of all ages and abilities”.

He went on to say, “In addition to bringing fun and enjoyment to literally millions of visitors, the economic impact to the city cannot be understated, with in excess of £40m generated annually into retail, hotels, bars, restaurants and other services.

“I will be leaving the venue with some great memories….from HM The Queen’s Official Opening Ceremony and Gala, the success over the years of the Nottingham Panthers, the outstanding performances of the GB Speed Skating team and medal winning performances from NIC skaters and teams… to hosting stars such as Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Oasis, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, Kings of Leon, The Who, Queen, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Justin Timberlake, The Killers and Metallica…it really has been a ‘who’s who’ of the live music industry!

“In addition to thanking my staff and colleagues, I would also pay tribute to the Chairman of the Board – Mich Stevenson – and all the other Board Directors, officers and Members of Nottingham City Council, our partners and sponsors, and the many, many friends I have made across the city who have been so supportive over the years.”

He added, “I wish Martin (Ingham) well in his new role…with such a talented group of Managers and staff behind him I am sure the National Ice Centre & Motorpoint Arena Nottingham will go from strength to strength in years to come”.