Media Releases

Global CEO Summit 2018 moves to Cannes

• Leaders to discuss core agenda for the exhibition industry for 2018
• from January 24-26
• René Kamm, CEO of the MCH Group, to be Summit Chairman
• tfconnect stepping down as co-owner, to continue as event supporter

The 2018 edition of the “Global CEO Summit” (GCS), the exhibition industry’s global annual curtain raiser event for C-level executives, will move to Cannes, France for 2018, and take place 24 to 26 January, at the prestigious Hotel Majestic.

René Kamm, CEO of the MCH Group, will be the Chairman for the Summit. Work on the programme is already underway to deliver an attractive mix of sessions and networking opportunities. René Kamm, states: “It is a challenge to put together a great programme for such an event, but I am confident that, together with the UFI team, we will bring together just the right people for just the right topics.”

“We are thrilled that we can answer the call from the international community to provide an inspiring and relaxing location again for the 2018 Summit, and also to move the Summit back to its original date in January. And we could wish for no better Chairman for the summit than René Kamm, CEO of MCH Group, home of some of the world’s most prestigious B2B show brands”, says Kai Hattendorf, UFI’s Managing Director.

The Global CEO Summit is an invitation only event for CEOs and C-level executives from international exhibition organisers and venue operators. The number of participants is capped to allow for an intimate atmosphere. The programme provides a mix of panels, interactive sessions, and a broad scope of networking opportunities.

For the 2018 Summit, tfconnect will step down for their previous role as co-owner of the event after two joint editions, and continue to work with UFI as an event supporter. “It’s been a unique journey to have this special partnership between tfconnect and UFI. But right now, there are so many exciting projects going on in tfconnect’s business fields that we have to put our focus elsewhere – making it no longer possible to put the time and energy needed into the GCS”, says Trevor Foley, tfconnect Managing Director.”

“We know the Summit is in excellent hands with the devoted UFI team, and we will continue to support the event. And, sorry all gossipers out there – No, we will not launch a parallel event instead”, Foley adds.

“We understand Trevor’s decision, as we see how busy he is with his company. We are sad about tfconnect stepping down, but also very happy that our collaboration for the GCS will continue in a different form”, comments Kai Hattendorf.

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UFI’s European Conference in Cologne to cover drivers for future success in the exhibition industry

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is bringing together exhibition organisers and venue managers from Europe and beyond to take a peek into the future of exhibitions.

Changing event formats, shifting exhibitor and visitor expectations, global competition, and more digital venues will be the main topics at this year’s UFI European Conference, headlined “It’s time!”, on 10-12 May in Cologne (Germany).

With more than five billion euros currently being invested in venues and venue infrastructure in Europe despite continuing geopolitical uncertainty, the conference focuses on trends and initiatives shaping the exhibition industry for the future.

“This conference will be a chance to look at tomorrow’s success factors: venues ‘going digital’, new formats, changing business models… It’s going to be the sort of event where you come away buzzing with ideas for your own business,” says Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director.

“We are proud to host this year’s UFI European Conference at our home base in Cologne. As a company, we ‘promise to energise’ the business of our customers. By hosting UFI’s biggest event in Europe this year, we want to do our part in energizing the discussion and dialogue about what is driving the future of the exhibition industry”, says Gerald Böse, CEO Koelnmesse.

With his help of David Boon, conference moderator and General Manager of International Business Development for Brussels Expo, the delegates will swap practical insights with international peers and learn from some of the leading industry experts from Europe, the US, and Asia.

Some programme highlights:
– Keynote speaker Denzil Rankine, Executive Chairman, AMR International (UK) will call on European exhibition businesses to face up to toughening global competition. His advice to organisers: Focus on corporate structures, digital changes, and global trends.
– Dr. Stefan Rief from Fraunhofer Institute, and Matthias Schulze, Managing Director at the German Convention Bureau (GCS), will share their latest ‘Future Meeting Space’ research – and show the changing demands on how to utilize venue space for events.
– Singapore’s Arun Madhoc, CEO of Suntec, will share his journey in turning his venue into one of the most advanced digital venues globally, providing guidance in decision-making for organisers and venues.
– Mark Brewster, CEO at Explori, will highlight changing expectations from the exhibitors’ and visitor’s perspectives, peppered with current trends and developments – and insights into what makes the best shows.
– And with many event trends finding their way into Europe from the North America, Deborah Sexton, President and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), will lead a session on meeting trends from the other side of the Atlantic – and the impact they have.

UFI events are appreciated both for their high level content and extensive networking opportunities. The UFI European Conference will be no different. Runners among the delegates are invited to join the #ufirunningclub, part of numerous social functions and networking opportunities organised throughout the two-day conference.

Alongside the conference Cologne will also host a wide array of parallel UFI meeting, ranging from the semi-annual meeting of UFI’s Board of Directors to committee meetings and a workshop for this year’s nominees for the “UFI Next Generation Leaders Grant”. New to the fold of topical meetings is a HR breakfast, hosted by the HR Management Committee, to foster deeper exchange on talent related issues.

The UFI European Conference is organised every year in May. Is has previously been hosted in Basel (2016), Istanbul (2015) and St. Petersburg (2014). The 2018 host will be announced in Cologne. It is open to UFI members and non-members.

For more information please contact and visit

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