Confex Director Jonny Sullens leaves UBM for Future career

Conference News can reveal that Confex Group Director Jonny Sullens is leaving UBM Live for a new job as Head of Events at Future Publishing.

He tells CN he will see out the next edition of Leisure Industry Week, which is also in his remit, 18-20 September before joining Future Publishing in October. Sullens has been at UBM for five years.

“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 tells CN.

“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.”

No successor at UBM has yet been named, but whoever is chosen to 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.

Managing Director at UBM London, Simon Parker tells CN: “We can’t thank Jonny enough for the massive contribution he has made to his show products. 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.”

UBM Live says it will be announcing Sullens’ replacement in the next few weeks.
A statement from Future Publishing says Sullens’ brief in his new role will be “to develop conferences and events as a significant new revenue stream for the company”.

“Sullens will spearhead the creation of a raft of conferences, major events, shows and awards around Future’s market-leading specialist audiences in sectors including Technology, Digital Creative Media, Cycling, Crafts and Video Games,” the Future statement says.

Future already hosts several internationally renowned consumer awards including the T3 Gadget Awards, the Classic Rock Roll of Honour and the Golden Joystick Awards – the world’s biggest video games awards.

Future CEO Mark Wood says: “Future engages with passionate and specialist audiences in many areas and we want to extend that engagement with B2B and consumer events. 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 adds: “I am really excited to be joining Future and to have the opportunity to build an events business around its audiences. Future’s market leading portfolios are tailor-made for events as all the ingredients are there: prestigious brands in growth sectors, editorial content, prospective attendee data and existing relationships with commercial partners.”
Future plc is an international media group, listed on the London Stock Exchange. Founded in 1985 with one magazine, today it has operations in the UK, US and Australia creating over 200 specialist publications, apps, websites and events.

Sullens leaves UBM Live, where, in addition to International Confex, he was responsible for UBM’s portfolio of digital marketing, leisure and venue shows. Prior to that 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.  He tells CN his proudest achievement on the Confex Portfolio is the introduction of the Loyalty Programme.

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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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