He is credited as the driving force who brought the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and the International Indian Film Academy Awards to the venue, as well as the first arena show by the local band Arctic Monkeys and the farewell performance of another, Pulp.
He also oversaw the creation of the Steel Hall, a smaller and more intimate entertainment space within the arena.
On his watch, the arena became one of the 10 most visited in the world.
Originally from Bolton, he had taken charge of the 13,500-capacity venue in 2006, having worked previously at the Manchester Apollo and for Apollo Leisure, Live Nation and Sheffield International Venues.
In 2017, after 20 years in the business, he left to concentrate on his events promotion company, Manifesto Events, which he had formed in 2012 with his business partner, Stuart Basford.
Dominic Stokes, head of the company which owns and manages the arena, said he had been “a brilliant venue manager” and “a true maverick and innovator”.
He is survived by his widow, Lisa, daughter Martha and son Milo.