UFI Selects Future President from South Africa for 2018/2019

May 10, 2017

The UFI Board of Directors has elected Craig Newman, CEO of the Johannesburg Expo Centre, as the president of UFI for the 2018/2019 term.

The decision was made at a board meeting during UFI European Conference in Cologne, Germany and becomes effective at the conclusion of the 83rd UFI Global Congress, running Nov. 1-4 in Johannesburg.

The UFI Presidential Trio for the 2017-18 term will comprise Corrado Peraboni (Fiera Milano, Italy), President 2017-2018; Craig Newman, Incoming President and Andreas Gruchow (Deutsche Messe AG, Germany), Outgoing President.

In 2014, Newman was elected onto the UFI Board of Directors and was further appointed onto the UFI Executive Committee.

His most recent achievement was his appointment as vice chair of the UFI Middle East/Africa Chapter.

Newman and his team are also hosting the upcoming UFI Congress at the JEC in Johannesburg.

As UFI Incoming president, Newman will work closely with the incumbent president and outgoing president to make up the Presidential Trio, managing UFI at the highest level and helping UFI to continue forward on its path of global development.

Current UFI President Dr. Andreas Gruchow said he was delighted to welcome Newman to his role in the UFI leadership.

“(Craig Newman) has been an active member of UFI and the exhibition and events industry for years now, bringing meaningful insight and value to the association as Vice Chair of the UFI Middle East/Africa Chapter as well as a member of the Executive Committee,” Dr. Gruchow said.

He continued, “His commitment is best reflected by the dedicated application of the Johannesburg Expo Centre to host this year’s UFI Global Congress. He has been very convincing during this tender process and for sure he will do his utmost to make the Congress a success for all. My experience of him personally is that of ‘a man of action,’ (and) if not Craig who else? I am convinced that with his positive personality, open mind, charming character, forward thinking and can-do attitude, Craig will contribute greatly to expand Africa’s footprint in the global exhibitions industry and thus further the growth and development for UFI and the global membership. Craig is going to be the first African UFI President and that should also boost the UFI Middle East/Africa Chapter.”

As the CEO of the JEC for the past decade, Newman boasts more than 24 years of industry experience during which he has made many positive contributions to the South African exhibitions, conferences and events industry.

Since 1991, he has occupied leadership positions in some of South Africa’s leading MICE industry companies including Forge Ahead Exhibitions; TML Reed Exhibitions; Oasys Innovations; Balanced Solutions, and Kagiso Exhibitions and Events.

On June 1, 2006, Newman’s appointment as CEO of the JEC signaled the beginning of a new era at the convention center.

Although it now ranks as one of the top venues in Africa, the facility was on the brink of debt when it bid to be chosen as the host venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup’s international broadcast center.

Newman’s leadership vision, wealth of knowledge and positive outlook became major driving forces behind the reinvention and turnaround strategy of the JEC, where he recognized great opportunities for growth. 

In 2003 and 2004, he served on the board of the Exhibition & Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA) and as the Venue Forum Chairman of the EXSA Board in 2009.

As an active member of the South African exhibitions industry, Newman has developed an extensive understanding of the South African market, as well as the African market. 

In 2014, he was elected onto the main Board of Directors at the UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and was further appointed onto the UFI Executive Committee.

His most recent achievement was being appointed vice chairman of the UFI Middle East/Africa Chapter. 

“I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the association for their confidence in me to serve as the President of UFI for 2019,” Newman said.

He continued, “During my time as the Vice Chair of the Middle East/Africa Chapter, I endeavored to bring Africa to the forefront of the global exhibitions industry and I still believe that Africa represents the next frontier for growth and development for UFI. As the first African President for UFI, it is an honor to be chosen to represent this outstanding association and I look forward to meeting this challenge head-on.”

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