Since 2015, Adam Aron has held the position of CEO of AMC. After transforming the company into one of the biggest movie exhibitors in the country during his first two years, he’s now intent on helping it weather the storm of the COVID pandemic. Thanks to the major equity investment deal he’s just pulled off, he seems to be well on course to doing just that. Find out more as we reveal ten things you didn’t know about Adam Aron.
1. He graduated cum laude from Harvard
Aron has always been an over-achiever, even as a teenager. After graduating from Abington Senior High School in Philadelphia, he won a place at Harvard University. Three years later, he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in government. Not content with leaving his academic achievements there, he went on to earn an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School.
2. He made his name in the travel industry
After graduating from Harvard, Aron took his first step on the career ladder in the marketing department at Pan American World Airways. After working his way through roles of ever-growing seniority, he left the airline after a decade to take on the position of marketing chief at Hyatt. From there, he took on the same role at United Airlines. After that, he began making his name turning around the fortunes of failing companies, including the Norwegian Cruise Line, Vail Resorts, and the Philadelphia 76ers. His most recent positions before joining AMC was as a senior operating partner at the private equity giant Apollo Global Management and as the CEO of Starwood Hotels.
3. He joined AMC in 2015
After making his name in the travel sector, Aron was appointed the CEO of AMC movie theaters in late 2015. He immediately set about introducing a transformation strategy that reversed the faltering company’s fortunes. Within just two months of taking the reins, he’d negotiated a $1.1 billion deal to acquire Carmike Cinemas. The acquisition transformed the theater chain into the country’s biggest source of box office. A few weeks later, he snapped up the Nordic Cinema Group in a move that made AMC the biggest exhibitor in Scandinavia.
4. He’s an award winner
Aron’s career has been studded with highlights. As well as being lauded by Newsweek for transforming the US ski industry during his time as the CEO of Vail Resorts, his achievements have earned him a place on Travel Weekly magazine’s ‘Club 33’, a list of the 33 most influential executives in travel and tourism, and two separate mentions on Ad Age magazine’s ‘Ad Age 100,’ a roundup of the 100 best marketing executives in the US.
5. He avoided bankruptcy four times in nine months
When the COVID pandemic started to make its presence known in March 2020, the impact on theaters was immediate. As The New York Times reports, by mid-March, every AMC theater had been closed and 35,000 workers, including Aron himself, had been furloughed. As the virus receded, most of its theaters reopened, only to close again as the restrictions came back into force. Now, some theaters are slowly starting to reopen again. To keep the business going, Aron and his CFO, Sean Goodman, have exploited every possible opportunity available. As a result, they’ve managed to narrowly avoid bankruptcy no less than four times in the space of just nine months.
6. He caused controversy with his mask policy
When Aron declared in July 2020 that AMC would be reopening 450 of its 600 theaters after the coronavirus shutdown, little did he know he’d be inviting major controversy to his door. During an interview with Variety, Aron confirmed that while AMC workers would wear masks, guests would not be mandated to do the same. According to Aron, mask-wearing had become a political topic that AMC wasn’t prepared to wade into. “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” he explained. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask-wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.” The backlash was immediate and ferocious. If Aron hadn’t wanted to be drawn into a political controversy, he’s gone the wrong way about it. So intense was the public outcry, it took AMC only one day to backtrack on its decision and announce that it would make masks a mandatory requirement across the board.
7. He’s a White House favorite
Since 1995, Aron has been selected by various White House officials to serve on numerous advisory boards. It started in 1995 when he was selected as a delegate to President Clinton’s White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. After that, the U.S. Secretary of Defense invited him to participate in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference in 2004. He also served on the board of directors of the National Forest Foundation between 2000 and 2006 at the request of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
8. He’s looking forward to a strong summer
During an interview with The Claman Countdown on 25th January, Aron revealed that AMC had raised a $917 million equity investment to sustain the company well into 2021. As reported by publicappointmentscommissioner.org, the company had been facing bankruptcy until the weekend before the deal. However, it’s now heading for a strong rebound as movie theaters look forward to increased attendance in the wake of the vaccine rollout. “We raised a lot of money, we bought ourselves a lot of time, and the difference now as opposed to the last ten months is vaccinations are here,” Aron said. “With theaters opening, with movie titles releasing, we’ve got a future,” he continued, “and I’m looking forward to a nice, strong summer.”
9. He’s worth over $26 million
Aron is currently worth at least $26.7 million. The fortune is made up of over 277,661 units of AMC Entertainment Inc stock worth over $17,028,961 and an annual salary of $9,671,800 from his position as President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director at AMC Entertainment Inc.
10. He co-owns the Philadelphia 76ers
In 2011, Aron was part of an ownership group that bought the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. For two years, he served as the CEO of the franchise. In 2013, he stepped down from the role. At the time, many speculated he’d been sacked. Aron confirmed he’d decided to leave the position of his own accord to concentrate on his other business activities. Despite no longer heading up the franchise, Aron is still a majority stakeholder.