AEO throws out latest contractor arm name

The Association of Exhibition Organisers is struggling to agree on a name for its contractor division after rejecting the latest option.

The Association of Exhibition Organisers is struggling to agree on a name for its contractor division after rejecting the latest option. The first title, unveiled in April, the Association of Exhibition Contractors, was scrapped to reflect the division’s broader offer. A second name, the Association of Exhibition Service Companies, has also been axed. A final decision is due to be made at a meeting of the working group on 24 July. AEO deputy director Austen Hawkins said the launch of the division had been put back from July to early August but rejected claims that it was the result of widespread uproar at the proposals (Event, June). “The delay isn’t about us backing off from our original proposal or about the idea that our move is anti-competitive,” he said. “The new name will need to reflect that the division is open to other service providers in the industry, such as IT companies. They aren’t strictly contractors but they wanted to be involved and this reflects the fact that it’s a market-driven exercise.” Hawkins confirmed that non-associate members of the AEO would be eligible to join the contractor arm. And an AEO-run venue association is still on the cards after the organisation admitted several interested parties had approached it. The news follows the decision by the Exhibition Venues Association (EVA) to reject “outright” plans to share the AEO’s secretariat. “We felt it was not in EVA’s best interests,” said EVA executive secretary Robin Anderson. “There are certain issues that bring the associations together and these are aired at exhibition association forums.” He added: “Our secretariats are distinctive and both ourselves and the British Exhibition Contractors Ass-ociation are professional bodies, while the AEO is a commercial one and has a drive to make profit.” EVA chairman Mike Closier said: “I hope we can consign this issue to history. EVA’s decision was unanimous. There were deep concerns about confidentiality and incompatibility of missions and goals.”

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