Board of Directors of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has selected Senthil Gopinath to serve as the organisation’s new CEO. As per ICCA by-laws, the Board made the selection in a closed-vote process, with Gopinath winning by majority vote. He will begin the new role in April 2019.
“Senthil brings the qualities that we most need in a leader at this juncture,” said James Rees, ICCA President and Executive Director of ExCeL London. “Throughout his career, he has demonstrated not only that he can establish a vision, but also chart the tactical path to reach that vision, always working from a solid foundation of operational and financial expertise.”
Gopinath’s career in the meetings travel industry spans more than 20 years, with 18 years spent working within ICCA member organisations. He joined the ICCA team in 2016 as Regional Director of ICCA Middle East (ME). In that role, he has forged new relationships with regional governments and industry partners, and grown ICCA ME membership by more than 80 percent.
The Board noted several career accomplishments as key to their consideration of Gopinath during the candidate review process, including:
- Dramatically elevating MICE operations for Emirates Group as its head of business development and operations, making the division one of the largest and most profitable in the region;
- Re-structuring and re-strategising the business model of VFS Global a part of Kuoni Travel Group. As Vice president – South Asia of VFS Global, growing annual profits exponentially over 60% growth in two years;
- Creating an innovative private-public partnership model for the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau as its general manager and CEO, increasing business tourism by 78 percent and driving a 64 percent increase in revenue;
- Being named one of three finalists for the 2019 Business Event Strategist of the Year award from the Professional Convention Management Association, with the winner to be announced in May.
Gopinath’s selection marked the end of a process that began in October 2018 and drew more than 100 applicants for the position. Finalists were screened through extensive interviews as well as an objective, psychometric evaluation of work styles and strengths using a leading industry instrument. The Board was assisted in the search process by Brussels-based European Affairs Recruitment Specialists (EARS), which was retained for the task in October.
Gopinath’s immediate responsibilities will include developing and executing annual business plans, ensuring operational sustainability and careful financial controls, and building ICCA’s global membership and presence with a special focus on developing member services adapted to each of ICCA’s key regions. He will work from ICCA Head Office in Amsterdam and report to the President and Board of Directors.
Senthil Gopinath: “I am truly honoured to be appointed for such a prestigious position in one of the global meetings industry’s leading organisations. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the President and Board of Directors of ICCA in placing their confidence in me. ICCA has been a family to me for over two decades. I have always cherished my involvement with ICCA and now being at the helm will enable me to listen more closely to our members and key stakeholders, and service them in a more enhanced manner, making ICCA more relevant to the global membership. Together with the ICCA team, we will work on the transformation of ICCA.”
ICCA President James Rees added: “I am delighted that ICCA is now in a position to move forward with its new CEO Senthil Gopinath. However, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Interim CEO Dennis Speet for his incredible work over the past ten months to help the Board of Directors lay firm foundations for ICCA’s future growth.”
ICCA (The International Congress and Convention Association) is the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry. ICCA represents the world’s leading suppliers in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and now comprises over 1,100-member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries worldwide. ICCA has specialised in the international association meetings sector since its establishment 55 years ago, offering unrivalled data, communication channels, and business development opportunities.
ICCA members represent the top destinations worldwide and the most experienced specialist suppliers. International meeting planners can rely on the ICCA network to find solutions for all their event objectives, such as: venue selection; technical and strategic advice; assistance with delegate transportation; full convention planning or ad hoc services.
In the photo: ICCA President James Rees and new ICCA CEO Senthil Gopinath.
Tourism leaders from across the public and private sectors came together at the World Travel Market in London for a high-level discussion on tourism’s role in rural development, the challenges and the opportunities. The Ministers’ Summit, hosted by the World Tourism Organization, focused on tourism innovation and technology and their place in empowering rural communities.
2018 was a record-breaking year for congresses in Paris. The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau published its annual study – «Congress Activity» – to decipher the characteristics and evolution of meetings sector, a strategic one for the French capital, which largely contributed to the positive attendance record of the destination in 2018.
Leading travel exhibition on the North-Western region of Russia INWETEX – CIS Travel Market and Saint Petersburg Travel Hub, a platform for discussion of hospitality and travel professionals took place on 11-12 October at the ExpoForum Convention & Exhibition Centre in Saint Petersburg. Events photo coverage by TOHOLOGY.
Launched in 1988 by Business Traveller UK magazine, Business Traveller Awards has now come to Russia.