Harrison will begin his new role on 1 November. He replaces Chris Skeith, who was recently appointed as chief executive of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), replacing Karim Halwagi.
Previously deputy director of the association for the last 18 months, Harrison will be based at the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) headquarters in Berkhamsted, where ESSA, AEO and EIA all base their secretariat offices.
Nick Marshall, chairman of ESSA and executive chair of GES EMEA, said: "I am delighted to be able to announce the appointment of Andrew as director of ESSA. We have worked with Andrew for 18 months in his role as deputy director and we are confident that he will be an ideal director for the association.
"We are very fortunate to have a pool of talent within our association secretariat, this appointment has allowed continuity of working and I am looking forward to working with Andrew in my remaining time as chair of ESSA."
Harrison added: "Working with the ESSA members and partners in my role as deputy director has been immensely fulfilling. I am looking forward to the challenges of taking up the position of director in November and extending my role and responsibilities within the association."
The association also announced that Marshall will stand down as chair at the end of the year to take up the position of EIA chair. Andrew Kennedy, current ESSA vice chair, will fill his role.
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