Julie Driscoll appointed as new AEO chair

The AEO Council has elected Julie Driscoll, divisional managing director for retail, manufacturing and engineering at Hyve Group plc, as the next chair of the Association of Event Organisers.

The election, which took place at the AEO Council Meeting and AGM held on the 16 September 2022, also sees Matthew Butler, executive director at CloserStill Media become vice chair. Former chair, Carina Bauer, chief executive officer of IMEX Group, will now assume the role of past chair for the forthcoming year.

Driscoll said: “I am honoured to be stepping into the role of AEO chair, following the exceptional leadership of Carina Bauer. As the second female chair to sit on the AEO board in 100 years, it is an extraordinary time to be part of some big changes coming down the line; for diversity, sustainability, public affairs and talent,  as we continue to build on the progress made by the AEO and the accomplishments of my predecessors.

“Through the cross-association diversity and inclusion group, we will continue to push forward to ensure our industry evolves at a greater rate, to reflect the wonderfully diverse audiences we serve.

“We will work closely with the AEV and ESSA to improve the industry’s profile with the government, so they’re clear on the enormous economic value the exhibitions industry brings, as the cost of living bites. This starts with a reception in Parliament next month.

“Of course, sustainability and talent continue to be pressing and we‘ll work tirelessly to turn the dial on the status quo. There is much work to be done over the coming 12 months but we are up to the challenge.”

Bauer says: “Whilst times continue to be unpredictable and testing for our industry, together we’ll overcome the hurdles and push forward with purpose. I am immensely privileged to have been chair of the AEO and to have worked with such passionate and talented members. I would like to welcome both Julie as chair and Matthew as vice chair and leave safe in the knowledge that we have two resilient and committed people to take the AEO through the next year and beyond.

“I would like to extend a big thank you to Paul Byrom from Immediate Media, Simon Kimble from Clarion Events, Phil Soar from Nineteen Group and Justin Phillips from Brand Events, who will be stepping down from the Council. Thank you also to my fellow Board members and the AEO team. Their contributions have been invaluable.

Chris Skeith OBE, chief executive of AEO, said: “I’d like to pass on a huge thank you to Carina for her exemplary chairing of the association as we continued to navigate the challenges faced in the aftermath of a pandemic and welcome Julie as AEO chair. Together, we will do all we can to serve the industry in the face of adversity and make progress with purpose. ”

The AEO also welcomes new board members Raphael Sofoluke from UK Black Business Show, Sophie Walker from Immediate Media, Lisa Hannant from Clarion Events and Alison Jackson from Nineteen Group.  Simon Parker from CIBSE was also re-elected.