RX CEO Hugh Jones Elected 2024-2025 President of UFI
The Board of Directors of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has elected RX CEO Hugh Jones to serve as UFI’s president for the term spanning 2024- 2025, and he will assume the leading volunteer role at the 91st UFI Global Congress in Cologne, Germany, in November 2024.
“It is an absolute honor to have been nominated and elected by my peers to this role,” Jones told TSNN. “UFI sets the tone and the standards for all of us; fundamentally, UFI reminds us that together we are stronger. RX has similar issues to many in the industry as we navigate a post-COVID world, and I hope to use my experience at RX as a helpful background to engage with the broad UFI community.”
He continued, “As an industry, we’re back to a pre-COVID face-to-face environment in which we need to deliver increased customer value all along our value chain. I am so very proud to represent and give my time to the wider industry as we collectively execute on that opportunity.”
As UFI’s incoming president, Jones will work closely with the president and outgoing president as part of the presidential trio, managing UFI at the highest level and furthering UFI’s mission to connect, support and promote the exhibition industry around the world.
The UFI Presidential Trio for the November 2023–November 2024 term will be: UFI President Geoff Dickinson, who is CEO for dmg events; Incoming President Jones; and UFI Outgoing President Michael Duck, who serves as executive vice president commercial development at Informa Markets.
“Hugh Jones brings with him a wonderful perspective on our business on a global scale,” Duck said. “He has excellent feel as to market sentiment and I am 100% sure he will bring many new ideas especially in digital in the years to come. RX is one of the world’s most important exhibition companies. Having Hugh in the UFI presidential trio and as president of UFI as from November 2024 will bring added experience to UFI’s work and guidance.”
The UFI Board of Directors recognized Jones' remarkable expertise and visionary leadership, paving the way for his appointment to this prestigious position. With a proven track record in global business and a strong focus on innovation, Jones is poised to drive UFI's mission of connecting, supporting and promoting the exhibition industry on a global scale.
UFI, a non-profit and non-partisan international association founded in 1925, represents more than 50,000 professionals in the exhibition industry across nearly 90 countries worldwide. With its headquarters in Paris and regional offices in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa, UFI remains dedicated to connecting industry professionals and fostering global collaboration.
Experience to Lead
Jones, who joined RELX in 2011 after the acquisition of Accuity, possesses a distinctive philosophy that has guided his career. Embracing the notion that executives must take calculated risks to maintain value propositions for customers, Jones understands that not every bet will yield success. This philosophy has been instrumental in his leadership roles, including CEO at Accuity, where he transformed the company into one of the largest and most influential players in the payment routing and Anti-Money Laundering sectors.
Throughout his career, Jones has demonstrated his ability to lead and integrate companies within the RELX portfolio. In addition to Accuity, he has overseen the operations of Fircosoft, NRS, I.C.I.S, Estates Gazette (EG) and Cirium. Prior to joining RX, Jones served as the global managing director within the Risk and Business Analytics Division, further solidifying his expertise in navigating complex business landscapes.
Assuming the role of CEO at RX in early 2020 right before the pandemic, Jones brought his wealth of experience in public company protocol and comprehensive business management to the organization. His responsibilities include overseeing profit and loss, talent development, forecasting, sales execution, technology innovation and product discovery, launch and growth.
Notably, Jones's strategic understanding of technological innovation has accelerated the integration of digital and data products and services across RX events, reinforcing their position as a core component of face-to-face interactions.
Jones is renowned for his passion in fostering a collaborative and inclusive work culture. He advocates for a psychologically safe environment that encourages exploration, risk-taking, accountability and courage. By championing these values, Jones aims to create a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all employees.
In its most recent trading update in April, RELX reported that exhibitions made up 11% of 2022 revenue of £8,553m, compared with 2021 revenue of £7,244m. According to a press release, “Strong revenue growth continues to be driven by a significant increase in face‐to‐face activity as exhibition venues have now reopened in all geographies.”
For its full-year outlook for 2023: “We expect a year of strong underlying revenue growth. The operating result will continue to benefit from the structurally lower cost base, with margins expected to be close to pre‐pandemic levels.”