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April 16, 2008

New NEC MD flies in from Luton

Kathryn James has swapped London Luton Airport for the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, where she will become managing director from 2 July 2007.

James will step into the role left vacant by Paul Thandi last October, when he became chief executive of the NEC Group, the company which manages The NEC along with arenas the NIA and the NEC arena, and Birmingham’s International Convention Centre (ICC).

Kathryn first joined London Luton’s parent company TBI, one of the world’s largest airport operating companies, in 1996 from Price Waterhouse. She moved from being an acquisition accountant in 1996 to her current role as managing director of the airport – the fifth largest in the UK – in just nine years, where she has been responsible for an operation handling nearly 10 million passengers every year.


Kathryn James: the NEC's new managing director

In her new role at the NEC, Kathryn will be responsible for increasing revenue and profitability through the identification of market opportunities, developing the existing business and building strong relationships within the industry and with key stakeholders. She will be a member of the executive board and lead a number of commercial and operations-focused teams.

Commenting on the appointment, Paul Thandi said: “I am delighted Kathryn has agreed to join us. She has incredible drive and determination and is excited by the opportunity to develop our reputation as a first choice venue through outstanding customer service and world-class facilities.

“Kathryn will lead the NEC team in repositioning the venue within the UK and across our international markets. She will also bring significant commercial insight and experience, which will help to create new revenue streams for the business.

“As the UK’s biggest and Europe’s busiest venue of its kind, the NEC is at the heart of both the Group’s current business success and its future direction, too.

“We are investing £40 million in both our people and our facilities and in Kathryn I believe I have someone to continue the NEC’s transformation into a venue that can continue to compete successfully on an international scale.”

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