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NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions MD Kathryn James announces retirement

The NEC Group, UK, has today (13 January) announced that the managing director for NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions, Kathryn James, will be retiring after 12 years with the company.  

Since joining as managing director of the NEC in 2007, James has led the strategic direction for the largest of the Group’s five divisions – the NEC – focusing on exhibitions, live events, conferences and long-stay experiences.

James navigated the business through a global recession and introduced a significant outsourcing programme that catalysed the evolution of Team NEC; uniting the NEC and operating partner service delivery under the one umbrella.

She also supported the deployment of the Group’s ‘masterplan’, overseeing the development of the NEC Campus into a 24/7 destination, which now welcomes seven million visitors annually.

In 2016 James took on additional management responsibility for the Group’s second division of conventions and conferencing – the ICC and Vox venues – the ICC, based in Birmingham city centre, and the Vox on the NEC Campus within Resorts World Birmingham.

Attracting an estimated 2.8m visitors and delegates annually under James’ remit, the venues have hosted major events, including Autumn/Spring Fair; The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show; MACH; Crufts; Good Food Show and Motorcycle Live, to conferences and congresses like Specsavers and the Conservative Party Conference.

James says of her time with the Group: “The NEC Group is unique, and I will miss the whole team. We’ve helped organisers deliver some outstanding events and I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the world’s top event organisers. There are great plans for the future of the NEC Group and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition. However, I’m going to enjoy taking the time for some well-earned rest!”

Paul Thandi, chief executive officer of the NEC Group, added: “Kathryn’s leadership across the NEC, ICC and Vox, has been revolutionary. Creating a strong overall proposition for the venues, her leadership has created unity, greater choice and flexibility, and ultimately an unrivalled customer service experience. Her direction and strategic council have proven invaluable to the company and will be greatly missed.

“On behalf of myself and the executive board, I’d like to thank Kathryn for her dedication and commitment to the development of the NEC Group, and wish her an enjoyable and relaxing retirement.”

Ian Taylor, venue sales director, NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions, will become acting managing director until a permanent appointment is made.

The NEC Group is a live entertainment business with over 40 years of expertise in venue and destination management. The five venues offer almost 250,000sqm of covered space.

Additional interests include national ticketing agency, The Ticket Factory; hospitality brand, Amplify and caterer, Amadeus, as well as out-of-home digital media specialists and sponsorship consultancy, NEC Connect Group.