AEO stalwarts set to run LBEA

The Live Brand Experience Association (LBEA) has agreed to hand over its secretariat to a management company formed by Association of Exhibition Organisers (AEO) stalwarts Trevor Foley and Austen Hawkins.

Association Management Group (AMG) was on the cusp of taking over the running of the LBEA from 1 April as Event went to press.

LBEA chairman Matthew Bending said: "They have a convincing case that other associations bear similar overheads and are run by people with day jobs to consider. They will bear the brunt of the work, provide an office, the secretariat and manage the accounts whilst we will continue to dictate what is done and when."

AEO group chief executive Foley, backed by Hawkins, tried to win approval for the new venture from AEO Council members. It will see them operate as an independent secretariat managing the AEO, Association of Exhibition Venues, Association of Exhibition Contractors, LBEA and other associated trade bodies.

At the time of press, the council had rejected the mechanics of the proposal but approved in principal the vision of "one voice for an extended face-to-face industry".

Foley and Hawkins were preparing to return to the AEO Council with an improved model that aims to show how they will run the individual exhibition bodies by sharing resources and costs across all the associations.

An advocate of the AMG told Event: "If exhibitions and events are going to compete in the marketing mix we need to grow our share. Trevor and Austen are putting the industry above personal gain in this scheme."

But an opponent in the industry said: "How on earth can a secretariat defend the ideals of the association it represents if its loyalties cross into other fields? The AEO needs to go back to basics and not put itself in a position of potential conflict of interest."


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