People News: Major Moves at Informa, Emerald, Visit Oakland and More

December 17, 2019

What year-end slow down? There's no rest for the trade show industry as new hires, promotions and appointments are still in full swing this holiday season. Take a look at the latest people moves.

Sally Shankland announced she is stepping down from her position as president and CEO of Emerald Expositions Events for personal reasons last week, and will transition to executive director and senior advisor in 2020. Her replacement for the time being will be Brian Field, currently Emerald’s current chief operating officer, who will serve as the company’s interim president and CEO effective Jan. 1. A search for Shankland’s permanent replacement will begin early next year.

Messe Düsseldorf appointed Wolfram N. Diener as the new president and CEO, succeeding Werner M. Dornscheidt, who will retire in June 2020 after nearly 17 years at the helm of the German trade fair company. Erhard Weinkamp was also named managing director of operative trade fair business, succeeding Hans Werner Reinhard, and will begin his new role on Jan. 1, 2020.

Informa Markets made two senior appointments this month. Mark Temple-Smith, who has two decades of experience in international exhibitions, was appointed COO; while Nancy Walsh, who was most recently Freeman’s senior vice president of brand experience, was appointed president of fashion.

Visit Oakland promoted Rhanee Palma to chief sales officer in December. She is the first Filipina-American to hold a C-suite position within the organization, and among the first in the history of the CVB/DMO space as well.

Stephanie Glanzer has been appointed senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International. In this role, she’ll oversee the company’s convention sales and operations — in which she is well versed, having been with the company for more than 21 years.

Naji El Haddad is now regional manager for the Middle East-Africa region for UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. He is taking over for Nick Savage and will work from UFI’s Dubai office.

Philadelphia CVB promoted Maria Grasso to vice president of citywide sales and convention sales this month. She’s been with the organization for 20 years.

Eric Vaughn has been promoted to director of banquet culinary operations for Caesars Forum and Las Vegas Region. He has 18 years of experience with Caesars Entertainment and has also operated celebrity chef restaurants with toques such as Gordon Ramsay and Steve Martorano.

Erik McKinney joined Dayton, N.J.-based experiential marketing agency Impact XM as executive creative director in November. Previously with George P. Johnson, he has experience working with clients such as Lexus and Amazon and will help craft live brand experiences for Impact XM clients.

Marco Bloemendaal left his post as senior vice president of sales with Visit Milwaukee in November to take on a new role as global vice president of sales for PCMA. He’s now based in Chicago. 

The Board of Directors of the Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District announced Fred Euler as new executive director of the hospitality nonprofit. A 45-year veteran of the hotel industry, he was most recently GM of Hyatt Regency Dallas.

Kris Maleig
Kris Maleig ​​​​​​

Kathy Ehlman has joined the Cincinnati USA CVB as senior sales manager for specialty markets. With more than 20 years of hospitality sales experience in the region, Ehlman will be responsible for prospecting new business in the state association, cultural fine arts, hobbies and direct sales segments.

SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals, based in Hauppauge, N.Y., has hired Kevin McPherson as technical account manager. He’ll be providing technical support to clients and supporting sales team processes in his new role.

Atlanta CVB welcomed Kayla Donahue as national sales manager in late November. Previously with Hyatt Regency Atlanta, she will work on group meetings utilizing 251–1,200 rooms on peak and representing the CVB at trade shows.

Optima Graphics, a wholesale supplier of graphics and exhibits to trade show retailers, has three new additions to its sales team: Dave Brown, who previously worked with the company for 20 years; Reid Sherwood, who was with the company from 2000-2007; and Gina Porcaro, who first joined Optima in 2008.

Kris Maleig was named director of facility management at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. A 15-year veteran of the center, he’s held positions as a mechanic, foreman, kitchen manager and building operations manager. Also at the convention center, Eric LeBlanc has been named creative services manager and will oversee the newly-created creative services division for customers.

Philadelphia-based event experience company Spectra had four promotions and two new hires within the last month. Amy Minniti was promoted to vice president of deputy general counsel; Richard Schneider was promoted to executive vice president of food services and hospitality; Tyler Fike was promoted to vice president of finance, food services and hospitality; and Blair Cardinal was promoted to vice president of communications. In addition, David Livingston joined the Spectra Partnerships team as vice president and Mike Reinert joined as new vice president of procurement.

Sunny Bath
Sunny Bath

Experiential events and exhibits company Hargrove welcomed Scott Finlayson as new senior vice president of operations. He was most recently COO for the Blue Man Group.

Following Tarsus Connect’s acquisition of BizBash earlier this month, Matt Johnson, Connect’s executive vice president, was named new president of BizBash. He has been with Connect for 15 years.

Andy White has rejoined dmg events as senior vice president for the company’s design and hospitality division, which includes INDEX and The Hotel Show, two of Dubai’s most established events. Also at dmg, Sunny Bath has been appointed vice president of data management.

Brand experience agency Unicorn Events continues its U.S. expansion with new hire Zachary Tranter, who will head up domestic projects as senior project manager in the New York City office. He was previously head of events and visits for the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

Ray Pineault has been appointed regional vice president for Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, while Jeffrey Hamilton has been promoted to president and GM at the company’s flagship property, Mohegan Sun Connecticut. 

NürnbergMesse added Remo Zimmermann to its management roster. He will lead the new Services unit beginning in July 2020.

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