Cirque du Soleil
Back in 2008, I was looking for a new adventure. But I never thought I’d be lucky enough to find one that combined three of my life’s biggest loves: international business, Mother Russia, and the arts.
After so much time spent in Moscow with The Coca-Cola Company – learning the language, living the lifestyle, and truly embedding myself in the culture – returning to Russia to work on Cirque du Soleil felt like the most natural next step I could follow.
I was the Vice Chairman and Co-owner of Cirque du Soleil Russia for eight years. And in that time, we brought a lot more to Russia than just the shows themselves.
We were the first company to introduce electronic ticketing to Russia, and the first western company ever to perform for three months at the Kremlin Palace theatre, selling 365,000 tickets to our show Zarkana.
When we started, Russia had never hosted a single Cirque du Soleil show. But by 2014, the country had become the fastest-growing market in the world for Cirque in the last decade. We brought 12 international shows to 14 Russian and Ukrainian cities – reaching a combined audience of 2.5 million people.
It was a roaring success. But it wasn’t easy.
It took eight months to get Cirque du Soleil up and running in Russia. But once we got that Big Top rolling, there was no stopping it – and to this day, we’ve sold over 3.5 million tickets to our shows.