Informa Exhibitions’ CEO Charlie McCurdy: Talks 2017 Successes, Future Plans

January 12, 2018

It looks to be a banner year for Informa Exhibitions in 2017, with the division of U.K.-based Informa having reported 9 percent growth for the first 10 months of last year. The company’s 2017 full-year results will be released Feb. 28.

Charlie McCurdy, CEO of Informa Exhibitions, said the growth was coming from several of the company’s largest trade shows, such as Natural Products Expos East and West and the China Beauty Show, which grew 5 percent, to name a few.

“Big shows are doing very well,” he added.

The company boasts more than 30 large shows in its global portfolio and, according to McCurdy, and always is looking to add even more, especially in markets it currently serves - such as natural, construction and medical equipment, among others.

Last year, in fact, one of its acquisitions was the $133 million purchase of Yachting Promotions, which, along with its existing portfolio of shows in this sector, makes Informa the “largest organizer of yacht shows in the world,” McCurdy said.

Trade shows are not Informa’s only focus though, last year the company also launched a new division – Informa Engage.

McCurdy said the new division was born from one that had been a part of Penton, which Informa acquired in 2016, called Penton Marketing Services.

Kate Spellman leads the Informa Engage team and the new division that launched in September 2017 offers what it calls “unrivalled specialist audiences, deep knowledge of vertical markets, sophisticated data and content marketing expertise and quality marketing services execution in turnkey packages.”

In other words, with the deep vertical markets Informa currently is in, there is a prime opportunity to connect buyers and sellers off the showfloor as well.

One more area in which Informa continues to expand, according to McCurdy, is by geo-cloning existing shows in its portfolio, such as World of Concrete that recently launched WOC Asia as well.

“There is a collocation with an event there, that de-risks the activity,” he explained. “We have a similar partnership in China with a food show.”

With a global portfolio, comes its challenges. Fortunately, one of those is not the impending Brexit. Even though Informa is a U.K.-based company, its shows primarily are held outside of Britain. “We have 1 percent in the U.K.,” McCurdy said.

What is causing some issues, he added, are countries such as Qatar, in which its neighbors in the Middle East, such as the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, cut ties with the country more than 220 days ago.

Looking toward the future, McCurdy said that talent development is a “core strategic issue” for the company. “It is imperative for any fast-growing enterprise,” he added.

To support its growing workforce, McCurdy said they have established training programs, streamlined marketing tools across the businesses and implemented software such as Salesforce for everyone.

With an eye toward 2018, he added, “We’ve gotten a lot done …. and a lot is in the works coming (this year).”

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