Home TypeNews Easyfairs appoints joint group CEOs as Eric Everard becomes chairman

Easyfairs appoints joint group CEOs as Eric Everard becomes chairman

by Emily Wallin

Easyfairs founder Eric Everard has been announced as chairman and appointed Anne Lafère and Matt Benyon as group chief executive officers.

Everard (pictured right) said: “I have worked with Anne and Matt for many years, and I am fully confident that they will
successfully steer the Easyfairs Group through the next stage of its growth.

“In my new role as chairman I will work to validate the group’s vision and overall strategic agenda. That means I will always be available to Anne and Matt to provide advice and act as a sounding board.  And I will play an active role in business development, working with fellow entrepreneurs to convince them of the benefits of working with the group, and supporting the group’s overall growth plan.”

Benyon and Lafere will share responsibilities for strategy, legal and financial issues and with the support of the heads of region and the management team at Easyfairs HQ in Brussels.

Matt Benyon said: “We will be dividing our responsibilities based on competence areas rather than by geographies. My focus will be revenues, growth drivers and M&A, while Anne will be focused on talent, technology & marketing, ESG and customer experience.

“Having enjoyed working with Anne for the past 13 years I believe the approach is the right one to meet the challenges ahead and I am looking forward to a constructive and fruitful partnership.”

Lafère said that in addition to driving a recovery in visitor and exhibitor numbers, Easyfairs aimed to launch 15 or more new events per year, integrate  new acquisitions, acquire and retain talent and work on their ESG strategy and net zero roadmap.

“Despite the success in bouncing back from nearly two years when live events were impossible across Europe, Easyfairs, and the industry in general, faces numerous challenges in these turbulent times.

“Diversity of experience will be a positive asset in the co-CEO model, especially with Eric’s wise counsel on new ideas,” she concluded.

Members of Easyfairs’ independent advisory board welcomed the appointments.

Denzil Rankine, chairman of AMR International said: “Congratulations to Anne and Matt. Their highly complementary skills have already been major contributors to the growth and success of Easyfairs. With Eric now as chairman, we can expect this accomplished management team to continue Easyfairs’
industry-leading innovation and outpace the market.”

Nick Forster, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the sector, mostly with Reed Exhibitions,
added: “It is a testament to the strength of Easyfairs that the new leadership has come from within
the group.”

Anne Lafère joined Artexis (later Easyfairs) in 1998, serving as managing director of Artexis
Exhibitions Belgium before her appointment as Easyfairs group chief operating officer in 2014.
Since then she has developed the Easyfairs Ecosystem with a centralised technology backbone of
tools, industrialised processes and training for all functions and departments. As well as reducing
operational costs, this approach has enabled Easyfairs to reproduce its success across multiple regions
and markets. Lafère also created the Easyfairs Academy, offering all employees a blend of face-to-face education and training and e-learning. She also drove the group’s digital and data intelligence roadmap with the development of digital products such as EasyGo, accounting for 10% of revenues.

Matt Benyon joined Easyfairs in 2009, initially as CEO for the UK division before being appointed CEO of the UK and Global (UKG) division within the group, extending his responsibilities to Algeria, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as the UK.

Benyon has been involved in numerous acquisitions and their subsequent successful integration within the group.  He joined Easyfairs from Expomedia, where he was responsible for running the UK and Indian exhibition businesses and previously worked for 12 years at Montgomery Group as managing director for Montgomery International.

Easyfairs organises  200 face-to-face events in 14 countries and employs 700 staff. The company is ranked 17th in the list of the world’s leading exhibition companies.

Alison Willis has also been promoted from divisional director to divisional managing director.

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