International Confex group director Jonny Sullens is leaving UBM Live for a new job as head of events at Future Publishing.
He will see out the next edition of Leisure Industry Week (LIW), which is also in his remit, from 18 to 20 September before joining Future Publishing in October. Sullens has been at UBM for five years. No successor has as yet been named but UBM hoped to announce a replacement in the next few weeks.
“I’m lucky in my events career so far that I have experienced probably the best large company to work for in UBM and one of the great success stories in the last few years, Ithaca Media,” Sullens told Exhibition News sister publication Conference News.
“In recent times I have been able to learn from the likes of Simon Parker, Simon Foster and Andy Center. That experience will be invaluable when I move into Future.
“UBM has a fantastic portfolio of events and has been really supportive of my career. However, the opportunity to build an events business from scratch on the back of such great brands was too exciting to turn down.”
Ending with LIW was also poignant given it was the show which UBM acquired as part of its Ithaca acquisition in 2007, Sullens told EN.
"It's fitting really as it's what I was working on when I came into UBM and it's a nice one for me to end my time here," he added.
Whoever is chosen to next lead the Confex portfolio will face a battle as Centaur’s Meeting Show UK launches next July, having promised to bring in 1,500 hosted buyers.
“We can’t thank Jonny enough for the massive contribution he has made to his show products,” UBM Live London MD, Simon Parker said. “Over the past five years, he has had a dramatic influence in securing the long-term future of the shows and given us a strong platform for further growth.
“Leisure Industry Week remains a flagship show for UBM Live and one that continues to enjoy phenomenal success in its industry. Meanwhile, International Confex continues to be both the market leading exhibition in the meetings and events industry and one of its most powerful brands."
A statement from publicly-listed Future Publishing said Sullens’ new role will be to develop conferences and events as a significant new revenue stream for the company. Its publications and events cover the technology, digital creative media, cycling, crafts and video games sectors.
"Future engages with passionate and specialist audiences in many areas and we want to extend that engagement with B2B and consumer events,” Future CEO Mark Wood said. “We know these can provide an opportunity to offer additional services to our consumers and allow them to meet experts and stars in their particular field.
"We see this area as a significant new revenue opportunity for the company. Jonny has the perfect combination of energy and experience to head up this exciting new business at Future - I’m delighted to have him coming aboard."
Sullens leaves UBM Live, where, in addition to Confex, he was responsible for UBM’s portfolio of digital marketing, leisure and venue shows. He took over responsibility for Confex from Duncan Reid in 2010.
Sullens was previously show director at Ithaca Media, where he drove significant growth across of number of events, including Leisure Industry Week, before the company was acquired by UBM.
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