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BECA chairman hands over the baton at council’s AGM

Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre CEO Leigh Harry is the new Chairman of the Business Events Council of Australia, taking over from AEG Ogden’s convention director Geoff Donaghy at the council’s AGM on October 11.

Elected vice-chairman was Adelaide Convention Bureau CEO Damien Kitto, while Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre CEO Ton van Amerongen retained the position of Treasurer.

Incoming Chairman for Business Events Council of Australia, Leigh Harry

Harry brings extensive global experience to the role through his presidency of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC). He is a past president of Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) and has served on the BECA Council for 10 years.

Speaking after the vote Harry said he wanted to focus on building a broader understanding of the business events industry and strengthen the critical partnership between governments and the private sector.

“Business events are critical elements in building international relations and helping to stimulate economic growth, and I want to work to ensure the role of our industry is well understood and that the critical issues facing us are identified and addressed,” he said.

At an AGM dinner hosted by Ton van Amerongen (centre, second left) are Geoff Donaghy (front centre) and Leigh Harry (second left). Other BECA representatives pictured include Damien Kitto and Michael Cannon (AACB); Malu Barrios and Ross Steele (Convention Centres Group); Rhona Walker and Linda Gaunt (MEA); Matt Pearce and Bob O’Keeffe (EEAA); Roslyn McLeod and Kate Walker (MEA’s meetings managers reps); Sarah Markey Hamm (ICCA Australia); Elizabeth Rich (BECA CEO).

Harry paid tribute to Donaghy’s five years as BECA Chair: “Geoff has worked tirelessly to progress the advocacy of the business events industry, and the profile that has been created through his efforts provides the ideal platform to continue the future work of BECA.”