Rod O’Connor ’92

Rod O'Connor '92
Shifting Between Careers in Politics and Business
Engage recently caught up with Rod O’Connor ’92 in London, where he currently resides with his wife and three children. O’Connor has developed quite an interesting resume in the years since graduation, shuffling back and forth between politics and the entertainment and sports industries. Good opportunity came soon after leaving the Hill, when he interned with then-Senator Al Gore. Six months later, after Gore was tapped to be Bill Clinton’s running mate, O’Connor found himself working in the White House. After four years as a White House, Senate and political aide to Vice President Gore, he went on to become Chief of Staff for the Democratic Party and also run the 2004 and 2000 Democratic National Conventions in Boston and Los Angeles, respectively.

“I was the rare democrat at Hampden-Sydney,” O’Connor recalled with a laugh. “My time at the college definitely tested my beliefs and made me want to make a difference in the world.”

In 2005 O’Connor took a professional turn, when he started working for the Anschutz Entertainment Group, better known as AEG. The company owns and operates 120 venues around the world, ranging from stadiums and arenas to theaters. It also owns major sports teams including the Los Angeles Kings and also promotes concerts by the likes of the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift. Most recently, O’Connor has been working as Executive Vice President for AEG Facilities Europe, booking, managing and developing business for 26 venues across the continent, including London’s venerable O2 Arena.

His time with the company, though, was interrupted by a two-year break, when O’Connor went back into politics to work for the Obama administration as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Energy from 2009-2011.

“Like a lot of things in life, it’s all about relationships and getting to know people through different projects,” O’Connor explained, when asked about juggling his different professional interests. “My work with AEG is a revenue-oriented business job, which is very interesting. But I like to keep a hand in the political world, because it stimulates a different part of the brain. I’ve been fortunate to work with people that let me do both.”

He also credits Hampden-Sydney with giving him the educational foundation to be successful in different areas.

“Hampden-Sydney is a place that trained me well to think on my feet,” O’Connor added. “That set me up for the future.