The managing director of Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), Richard Mortimore, has led industry tributes to Vanessa Cotton, former non-executive chair of RTE’s meetings and events portfolio who has died after a battle with cancer.
“We at RTE are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Vanessa’s death,” says Mortimore. “Our thoughts at this time are with her family and friends. She was a true industry doyenne and contributed much to our team. She will be greatly missed in the meetings industry.”
Vaness Cotton began her career in 1978 at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organising UK groups at international trade fairs in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry.
In 1981, she joined Brintex, organising a wide variety of successful trade events in the UK and overseas, leaving in 1987 to establish The Event Organisation Company (EOC).
The EOC created, marketed and managed conferences and exhibitions for a wide range of clients worldwide. One of the organiser’s many accolades was Best European Government Event 2003 for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
In September 2004, Vanessa Cotton was appointed managing director of Excel London's Conference and Events Division. She was also president of the European Council of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and, in 1999, was the first non-North American to be elected to the executive committee of MPI's international board of directors. In 2000 she was also appointed a non-executive director of the London Tourist Board, now Visit London, and chaired its Business Tourism Advisory Group (BTAG).
Excel London chief executive Kevin Murphy tells exhibitionnews.co.uk: “Myself and the entire Excel London team are absolutely shocked and devastated at the news. Vanessa made a significant and transformational difference to our business. We will all remember her with great fondness."