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August 5, 2008

ExCeL gives hint of future plans with Arculus in chair

Hot on the heels of ADNEC’s purchase of ExCeL London, media and exhibition industry guru Sir David Arculus has been appointed as the venue’s chair. But is the move a sign of a new industry trend?

Arculus has extensive experience on the organiser side of the industry with stints at both Emap and Clarion. As group managing director of Emap he took the company into both business-to-business and the business-to-consumer sector, and was involved in the development and expansion of shows such as the Spring Fair and BETT. Subsequently, he chaired Miller Freeman (now CMP) and has also served time as chairman of Earls Court and Olympia.

Outside the Exhibition area Sir David has chaired O2 plc and also spent a period as chairman of Tony Blair's Better Regulation Task Force.

The move to appoint such an exhibition industry luminary to head up London’s largest venue could indicate an emerging trend led by the Dubai World Trade Centre’s interest in Informa IR, of major venues buying up media and exhibition companies. Of course, such an assumption begs the question which company would be the potential target for ADNEC and ExCeL – Reed Exhibitions perhaps? As to the strategy, owning major global venues and exhibition companies would certainly tie up both sides of the market nicely.

David Arculus and David McAlpine sign ExCeL London's Phase 2 expansion plans

Rather than adding to such speculation, ExCeL chief executive Kevin Murphy cited Phase 2 of the venue as a key reason for appointing Arculus.

"This is a very exciting and important appointment for ExCeL London, as David is a respected and leading figure in the business world with impressive credentials,” he said. “His appointment is testament to the success of ExCeL and our continued ambition to maintain our reputation as the UK's premier exhibition and conference centre and a world class venue. David will play a major role working with the Executive Team to deliver Phase 2 and
3 of our expansion plans and I look forward greatly to working with him again."

Murphy also paid tribute to Lord Tom King, saying: "He has been an inspirational chairman for the last nine years and his input, support and drive have been invaluable. He has been the driving force behind ExCeL London from the very start and continues to be. Tom will continue to work with ExCeL London as a non-executive director."

Commenting on his new role, Arculus said: "I am looking forward to being involved with the expansion of ExCeL London and the future plans for the campus. The expansion will enable us to handle some of the biggest international events and to provide facilities for the 2012 Olympics."

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