People News: Simon Foster Tapped to Lead Comexposium; PMMI Names Jim Pittas President, CEO

April 10, 2017

The winter months ended with a flurry of hirings and promotions in several for-profit companies and association show organizations, as well as suppliers to the trade show industry.

Comexposium Group has appointed Simon Foster as CEO as of August 2017. At that time, Renaud Hamaide will transition from CEO to executive chairman.

Foster will lead the Comexposium Group strategic development and implementation across the Globe, managing existing products and teams, optimizing products’ performance, as well as overseeing new business launches and acquisitions integration.

All division managing directors in France and Regional CEOs in the US and in APAC will report to him. Foster also will manage HR, Business Solutions, Operations and Strategy & Integration teams.

Comexposium Executive Chairman, Renaud Hamaide, said, “I am delighted to welcome Simon Foster as a CEO of Comexposium. Simon and I have known each other for a long time and have a strong and positive relationship. His decision to join Comexposium is positive recognition of the growth and potential of Comexposium. Personally, I look forward to working with him and benefiting from his experience and expertise in the business.”

Senior Vice President Jim Pittas will succeed Charles D. Yuska as president and CEO of PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, owner and producer of the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows.

Pittas will assume the role of COO immediately and will work with Yuska to assume the title of President and CEO upon Yuska’s retirement in May 2018.

Over the past year, PMMI’s Executive Committee has been working with Yuska on a succession plan. The committee sent their recommendation to the Board of Directors where it was soundly approved.

“After much deliberation and careful thought, the Executive Committee unanimously concluded that the ideal candidate for the lofty position is already working at PMMI,” said Paul Irvine, chairman, PMMI. “We interviewed Jim extensively and he was exceptional, making the choice clear.”

Long-time Georgia World Congress Center General Manager Mark Zimmerman has transitioned into a new role and will continue working for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority as a senior business consultant.

“It’s all related to sales – recruiting possible clients and customers, and keeping up with current customers,” said Zimmerman, who began his career at the GWCC as a concessions supervisor. “I’m also representing the congress center at industry functions, including several upcoming speaking engagements.”

For instance, Zimmerman recently represented the GWCC at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship in St. Louis in hopes of landing the event in Atlanta.

Zimmerman served as general manager of the 3.9-million-square-foot convention center from 2004 until late 2016. He has launched Zimmerman Consulting LLC, a venue, food service and event management company based in Marietta, Ga.

GES, a global full-service provider for live events, is pleased to announce the addition of Kristin Sedlacek as regional manager of sales support based in GES’ Chicago client care center. Sedlacek brings more than 15 years of business development and design experience.

“We are thrilled to have Kristin join GES’ Program Account Management team,” said Terry Campanaro, senior vice president of client relations at GES. “Kristin’s experience with pharmaceutical companies combined with her background in client solutions makes her an exciting addition to the GES team.”

Jeff McQuilkin has joined NACS as exhibit sales and services manager, with a primary focus on the NACS Show, the premier event for the convenience and fuel retailing industry.

He will be responsible for booth sales and logistics as well as developing relationships with technology, facility operations and foodservice exhibiting suppliers for the NACS Show, which annually attracts more than 20,000 attendees from 60-plus countries, and features four days of general sessions, more than 60 education sessions and more than 1,200 exhibiting companies in a roughly 400,000 net-square-foot expo.

McQuilkin comes to NACS after having worked at various national tradeshows with Nielsen Expositions. Most recently, McQuilkin worked at two Top 100 tradeshows: InfoComm and Solar Power International.

Joaquin Quesada has been named deputy director of the Anaheim Convention Center, bringing more than 35 years of convention center operations, sales and service experience to his new position.

Quesada, an Anaheim native who started his career as an Anaheim Convention Center busboy, joins as the center prepares to open 200,000 square feet of new, flexible event space in September.

The expansion, known as ACC North, allows the facility to grow with its biggest shows while attracting new groups for specialized conferences, break-out sessions, workshops and galas.

“Joaquin’s industry knowledge and ability to manage multiple venues will be essential as we open the doors to our seventh expansion in September,” said Tom Morton, executive director of Convention, Sports and Entertainment for the city of Anaheim. 

The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced the hiring of Michael Laatsch as COO. Laatsch comes to the CVB from Western & Southern Financial Group, where he was vice president of public relations and corporate communications.

In this newly created position, Laatsch will oversee day-to-day operations of the CVB.

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