27th October, 2023
Dragone’s Board of Directors has appointed James Tanabe, an experienced live entertainment executive, as CEO, effective August 1, 2024.
The appointment follows a thorough CEO search process conducted by the board over the last six months, with the mandate to appoint a collaborative leader with extensive international live entertainment experience, capable of leading a growth-focused transformation of the company that will be consistent with the ideals and entrepreneurial vision of Franco Dragone, the company’s visionary founder.
James, a member of Dragone’s external Advisory Board, has unanimous support from the board and shareholders following an evaluation of all the key metrics critical to Dragone’s future success. He is widely recognized and respected in sectors spanning the entire live performing arts value chain, including arts education, show creation, show production, and international show operations. His international network and outreach will deepen Dragone’s connection to the global business, cultural, and artistic communities.
James brings a quarter-century of strategic, managerial, operational, and entrepreneurial live entertainment experience to Dragone. Prior to the pandemic, James served as the Senior Director of Business and Creative Strategy at Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil following its 2015 acquisition by the US-based investment group TPG. During his tenure, he implemented a data-driven approach to business development and project due diligence and led the company’s management team in developing their five-year strategic plan. Before his role at Cirque du Soleil, James worked at McKinsey & Company as a consultant with a particular focus on media and entertainment, business strategy, and organizational transformation. He first entered the world of professional live entertainment with a 10-year career as a professional circus artist, and later, as the artistic director of Cirque du Soleil’s Wintuk and Corteo.
James will assume the role of CEO of Dragone upon completing his current mandate as the Director of Studies at the prestigious National Circus School of Montreal. In the interim, the executive operations and leadership of the company will be overseen by Kaïs Raddaoui, the Managing Director of the Dragone Family Office.
“We are delighted to welcome James Tanabe as our new CEO,” said Kaïs Raddaoui. “James’s exceptional skills and visionary leadership will undoubtedly enhance our creative endeavours and set new standards in our industry. Dragone is known for its commitment to expanding horizons, and James will play a crucial role in continuing this tradition.”
Founded by Franco Dragone in 2000, Dragone was his company and life’s project: a creative enterprise that places innovation, creativity, and vision at the core of all its endeavors.
Dragone has always been at the forefront of artistic innovation, pushing the boundaries of creative expression and the convergence of expertise. With an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional and engaging experiences for audiences and artisans alike, Dragone has consistently embraced a unique approach to contribute to the global artistic and cultural landscape.