UFI CEO Forum Draws 70 Leaders to Istanbul

February 14, 2012

With temperatures hovering near zero degrees and heavy snow blanketing the area, 70 exhibition industry CEO leaders braved the elements to attend the UFI CEO Forum Feb. 1-3 in Istanbul.

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry held the three-day event at the host venue IFM – Istanbul Expo Center.

“This was my first UCF, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Haluk Kanca, general manager of IFM.

He added, “There were group dynamics at play that I have never seen at another industry meeting. The program was really educational and the occasions to do business were numerous. We have been very happy to have had the opportunity to host this 10th edition of the UCF.”

UFI President Arie Brienen said “for those delegates who were able to make it, the reward was great – a very special event with a unique atmosphere."

Speakers included Freek Vermeulen, associate professor at the London Business School, who talked about common “pathologies” within organizations, including collective inertia and management myopia.

It was inevitable that there were discussions about the Eurozone crisis, in which several CEO voiced concerns.

Economist Roger Martin-Fagg’s warned of at least two more years of tough times.

A panel discussion on core competencies had speakers that included CEO of MCH Group Ltd., René Kamm, who runs shows including Baselworld, Deutsche Messe Hannover AG’s Andreas Gruchow and Nancy Hasselback of Diversified Business Communications.

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies led a panel discussion on the Turkish market with Douglas Emslie from Tarsus, which recently purchased the Istanbul Fair Organization, and Feridun Bayram of the Marmara Fair Organization.

Working in the Turkish exhibition market can be challenging, but with 8.8-percent growth for the second quarter of 2011 (according to the Financial Times), it’s a country that merits the attention that the international organizers have been paying it.

MCI’s Jurriaen Sleijster kicked off day two by drawing parallels with trade associations and event organizations.  

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