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Global data format VSef appoints new CEO

by Emily Wallin

VSef, the global data format for digital event technologies, has appointed Stephen Knowles as CEO.

The  Virtual Standard Export Format (VSef) was created and led by data company Explori, with the input of organisers including Clarion Events, Easyfairs, Emerald, GRS, Hyve, Informa, MBB Consulting Group, Mesago Messe Frankfurt, Messe Munchen, RDC, Reed, Tarsus, Verona Fiere and Virtual Strategy Ltd.

VSef is run on a not-for-profit basis, is open to all event organisers, and any platform can choose to adopt the standards.

It has been designed to provide an open-source standard for virtual event data, allowing organisers to receive data from different platforms in one format.

Problem solving

Knowles previously worked  at IQPC, Informa Markets (previously UBM) and CloserStill.

He said:

It’s a rare role that has the potential to make such a progressive and rapid impact on the global events industry as whole. I am drawn to problem-solving opportunities that make a real difference, and when the chance came up to support and lead the VSef initiative I couldn’t say no.”

“When creating a must-have list for 2022, few leaders in the industry wrote ‘universal data format’ as a key objective.  However, when a ready-made solution, created independently and that resolves significant challenges for the industry and its customers drops into leaders’ laps, wide-scale change can happen extremely rapidly.”

Knowles takes over from Mark Brewster who has led VSef since its conception inception in early 2021, and who will continue to serve as chairman of VSef and CEO of Explori, the company event measurement business he founded in 2011.

Brewster said:

I’m extremely excited to see Stephen take over the day-to-day management of this important industry initiative. For me, it has been an absolute honour to work with the industry so collaboratively to fix the big data problem. Stephen skills in scaling industry projects and events make him the perfect choice for VSef and I’m looking forward to seeing it progress in his hands.”

This appointment follows the announcement of V2.0 of VSef which enables organisers to pull data from multiple platforms into their own system.

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