James Nesbitt hosts AEO Excellence Awards, Chris Evans makes appearance

Actor James Nesbitt hosted the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) Excellence Awards on 16 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel in front of 1,000 event industry professionals.

Chris Hughes, CEO of Brand Events, was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry award, which was delivered by broadcaster Chris Evans.

Chris Skeith, chief executive of AEO said after the event: “This year’s AEO Excellence Awards was never going to be anything other than fun. Everyone works so hard throughout the year that, when we get the opportunity to come together to celebrate the amazing achievements of the industry, we make sure we have a fantastic time. Chris Hughes winning the Outstanding Contribution award set the scene for an event full of energy, laughter and celebration. Well done to all of this year’s winners.”

Winners on the day included a mix of AEO members as well as debut winners. Brand Events, Clarion Events, Forest Exhibitions, Media 10, New Scientist and the NEC all took away two awards. Suppliers to the industry, GES, Tembo and Thorns Group, who won the Unsung Hero award sponsored by Circdata, all took home a trophy and five awards went to event venues, with ExCeL London winning Venue of the Year sponsored by Freeman. Clarion Events scooped this year’s Most Respected Company award.

Chris Preston, managing director Freeman EMEA, said: “Many congratulations to all the winners of prestigious awards, and of course to all those that were shortlisted, in a year of a record number of entries. Congratulations to ExCeL London who won the Freeman-sponsored Venue of the Year award.”

The winners of the Freeman Predict the Winners competition were Maya Mhatre from ITE and Charlotte Simpson from Ascential Events.

Martin Clarke, marketing director, NEC said: “There was a real breadth of Award Categories, with strong entrants, many of whom are our customers, so provides us an opportunity to support them.”


Outstanding Contribution to the Industry

Chris Hughes, CEO, Brand Events

Best Tradeshow Launch 

Oliver Kinross – Auckland Build

Best Consumer Show Launch 

New Scientist – New Scientist Live

Best Live Event 

Alexandra Palace – Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival

Marketing Campaign of the Year – Consumer 

New Scientist – New Scientist Live

Marketing Campaign of the Year – Trade 

Tarsus Group – Labelexpo Americas

Organiser Team of the Year 

Forest Exhibitions – Automechanika Birmingham

Venue of the Year 

ExCeL London

Venue Team of the Year 

The NEC Operations Team

Service Supplier of the Year 


Stand Design and Build Supplier of the Year


Best Use of Technology 

Media 10 – Design Shanghai 2017

Best Conference 

Clarion Events – Trauma Innovation

Unsung Hero 

Thorns Group – Roger Jennnings

Innovation Award 

The NEC – With You Every Step of the Way

Sustainability Award 

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

Best Use of Social Media 

Ascential Events – Social Media at Pure London

Best Tradeshow Under 2000

Quartz – Elevate

Best Overseas Tradeshow Over 2,000sqm 

Media 10 – Design Shanghai 2017

Best Consumer Show 

Brand Events – The London Classic Car Show

Best UK Tradeshow Over 2,000sqm 

Forest Exhibitions Ltd – Automechanika Birmingham

Most Respected Company

Clarion Events


Martin Fullard


Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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