Renen De Guia talks about silver platter start and leadership style

Updated: Oct 21

INTERVIEW: Many executives will tell you that they built their business or career from the ground up with blood, sweat, and tears. But not for Renen De Guia, President and CEO of Ovation Productions, one of the Philippines’ largest concert and event producers. He admits to receiving his first big crack into the entertainment scene on a silver platter.

In this third part of our exclusive interview, Chief of Staff Asia also lets you into his management and leadership style.

As a top concert producer, facing hurdles in bringing foreign acts to hold shows in the Philippines is a common experience. De Guia says big artists are currently aligned with major global promotion companies, such as Live Nation and AEG Presents, which then partner with local promoters in different countries and regional markets.

“It would be difficult to get these big-name artists independently. Although we have worked well with Live Nation in the past, we are collaborating more often these days with AEG Presents,” De Guia continues.

As for his management style, De Guia pointed to his wife, Cel, doing the main work for TapDMV and Ovation Productions. He added that his son, Bogie, has stepped up as TapDMV’s Chief Technology Officer while also being involved with Ovation Productions.

But he says, “I continue to handle marketing and promotions of our concerts and train my other son, Enzo.”

As the business head, De Guia describes himself with a quote from US military commander George Patton: “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way!”

“In my younger years, I was brash and impatient. I wanted my team to toe the line. I must say, my instinct and old-school style were effective most of the time.

“Now, I listen more, acknowledging that newer methods can be better. I am quite content to lead from behind.”

One may think that De Guia’s sold-out concerts and live events for over 40 years must have begun with humble beginnings. Surprisingly, his career was dished out “on a silver platter.”

“The business of promoting concerts came to me on a silver platter. I did not seek it. The manager of ‘70s teen star, Leif Garrett, liked my work when I helped out during Leif’s promo tour in the Philippines in 1978. He wanted me to be the promoter of Leif’s concerts the following year,” he recalls.

An accidental promoter, one may say, De Guia, did not truly know what his job would entail and where to get the money. But he boldly said “yes” and took on the challenge, borrowed money, and learned the ropes. They were a two-man team back then.

“I was the promoter, messenger, and office clerk working from the house of Cel, who was then my girlfriend.

“She was handling tickets. We would do the rounds delivering tickets and collecting sales. We would walk great distances from the SM Carriedo mall to Merriam Bookstore in Morayta, Manila, and threading Avenida outlets in Good Earth Emporium, Alemar’s, and National Bookstore in C.M. Recto,” De Guia fondly recounts.

Was there a time when he wanted to stop or wind down?

“Honestly, I gave it up. I retired from concert promotions in the mid-1990s and focused more on our garment manufacturing and music retailing business, the famed TOP40 T-shirts, and the ladies’ teens wear, Bangles.”

But almost 30 years later, De Guia is still standing. He notes that the future for his latest media project, Tap Digital Media Ventures, looks promising with the evolution and adaptation of digital media.

He closes by saying, “One must be quick to recognise a good opportunity and take a chance. Some people take too long to pray about it. By the time they decide, the opportunity is gone. Others prayed about it, but still, things didn’t work. God has given us common sense and we should use it. We are all just passing through.”

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Renen De Guia, President and CEO of Ovation Productions. For further coverage please see any of the below links:

Ovation Productions: Renen De Guia runs entertainment empire

Why Ovation Productions' mega-events are a family affair

Getting to know: Renen De Guia, Manila's concert magnate

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