Newsletter Issue 1 : December 2013



This is the first in a series of newsletters we are creating for the Global Conference Network. If you would like to be sent future editions then let us know. We would welcome input from readers on news, job changes and other stories. Please send us your news.


Ruth Carter, Global CEO for Conferences will be leaving UBM at the end of this year having spent the past six years creating a strong content strategy for the company’s conference infrastructure globally.

We spoke to Ruth about her time working in the industry since her first job at IIR in 1993, where she worked both in their London and Toronto offices for five years. She recalls her first interview at Centre Point where candidates were called for a group interview and told about the glamorous role of a Conference Producer – followed by the fearful demands of the role - but right from the start Ruth loved the idea of all that the job offered. She loves to know a little bit about everything, and has never looked back – grateful for having found the conference industry.

First ever conference: “Managing and Motivating your Telephone Team” for IIR. Ruth recalls standing at the back of the room looking at all the delegates who had turned up and watching two speakers from Vodafone and BT practically fighting over the issue being discussed and thinking “I created this”! Ruth stands by the core belief for a successful event “Content is key, Marketing is the power behind the throne”

After five years at IIR, Ruth approach EMAP who she had worked with as a sponsor and suggested that they could really focus on organic growth by creating conferences from their existing brands. Ruth spent the next seven years getting this commercial process going, and with great success. Having been headhunted to join UBM to set up a European conference business, she eventually moved to her global role and continued growing and launching events into new markets and consolidating and putting best practice into UBM’s conferences.

Changes observed in the industry in the past 20 years: “Traditionally, we have always said that delegates attend because of ‘need-to-know, not nice-to-know but it has now gone beyond that. I think content has to be thought of as focusing on ‘life and death’ issues now. It is essential that each event is niche and core and we need to be able to demonstrate ROI not just for the sponsor but also for the delegate”. Ruth also feels that the continuing and positive change is the advance of the digital piece in the conference world. She is intrigued how our markets will have changed in a further 10 years’ time and how our products will fit into those changes? “There will always be space for face to face” Ruth says “but it is important to combine the digital element”.

We asked Ruth’s opinion on a couple of key topics at our Conference Summit. Firstly about whether the paying delegate is in terminal decline. Her answer was “No, if the product is worth paying for then the delegate will still come”. Secondly, her thoughts on another panel discussion about whether there is a convergence of large scale events and exhibitions, and that visitors and delegates alike do want the full experience of debate, understanding, face to face meetings from a large event and this has highlighted that many big exhibitions need to improve on their provision of content through a much more hard core conference programme in order to keep adding value to their brand.

Most challenging event: Ruth said that most of her funny conference stories are not suitable to publish (!) however she remembers one of her team running an evening reception on a boat in Amsterdam which was hijacked by Greenpeace! The organiser had to negotiate with Greenpeace to get her delegates back to dry land. All part of the job, Ruth says that conference folk are fear junkies – they love to create a solution out of hot air!

Ruth actually studied Music at university but realised that it was going to be tough making a decent living from a life as a musician. She says “I fear mediocrity and never want to be average”. This is apparent in her drive and success in the conference business so far and when asked about her plans for a next role she replied “I don’t intend to spend more time at home with my family”!


View the webcast

The 3rd annual Conference Summit took place at etc.venues Dexter House on Friday 6th December. The feedback has been excellent and a review of the event is now available on the website.

There is a free webcast from the event with panels debating “Is the Paying Delegate in Terminal Decline?” and “Is the Convergence of Large Scale Events and Exhibitions Real?” To see these sessions in full please register here.


i2i Events Group has announced that  UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will become their  international business partner, covering events into 2014 including The Education Show.  The partnership promotes UK business internationally giving them event networking and hosting opportunities for potential buyers.  i2i events hopes to increase the number of international buyers at their events.

Interim results:

Informa sees an organic growth of 1.1 per cent Jan-Sept 2013 – Its events side being the strongest performer- revenues at 2.9 per cent.

UBM’s events section has seen a 10.8% growth with events in China doing well and Brazil and India less so this year.

Centaur’s third quarter saw 6% increases following new event launches and continuing good growth across the digital and paid for content products. Digital and events revenues accounted for 71% (2012: 68%) of total revenues, with print revenues now accounting for only 28% of total revenues (2012: 31%)

Euromoney sees a consistent 30% profit margin with Institutional Investor Plc, the international online information and events group, achieving record profits.

Read more >


The winners of the 2013 Asian Conference Awards have been now been announced. We would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to the hugely deserving winners on achieving the highest accolade and recognition within their industry. If you run events in Asia and want to get involved next time then register here.

For a full list of the winners and finalists of each category please click here.


Peter Rigby, CEO Informa is retiring and being replaced by Stephen Carter who is currently a Director at Informa and formerly from Alcatel-Lucent.

David Levin, CEO UBM will leave in July next year.

Andria Vidler has become Chief Executive of Centaur.

Ruth Carter will leave UBM as CEO of Conferences at the end of the year.

Jonathan Dewe has left The Economist and is now Managing Director of Wavecast.

Ben Wood of Incisive Media promoted to Group Marketing Director.


Now is the time to start deciding which of your 2013 conferences might be worthy of an award and to start working on the entry forms. The event next year will take place on 13th June and we expect over 750 attendees. To see details of the judging panel and the categories for 2014 visit the website:


UBM plc - London, United Kingdom --- Group Marketing Manager

Data Centre Dynamics --- Sales Director Europe

Greenpower Conferences ---- Director of Production

Greenpower Conferences ---- Senior LSE Producer