Joint Chapter President
Paul has been working in the Middle East and Asia since 1993, starting his career in Dubai with the OMNICOM Group as a lead Account Director on Emirates Airline, Pepsi Cola and General Motors. In 1997, he moved into the sports event management and sports marketing sector by launching the first leisure motor sport tracks in the region; Indoor Karting, Outdoor Karting, and the Dubai Autodrome circuit.
In 2006, Paul began a close relationship with Formula 1, working closely with McLaren and Ferrari on their Middle East partnerships and being involved in the launch of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix. After 12 years in the motor sports industry, I acquired a shareholding in one of the Middle East’s leading event industry suppliers, Harlequin Marquees & Event Services. In 2009, he became CEO of Harlequin and subsequently sold the company to the Arena Group.
In 2010, Paul was appointed CEO of the Middle East and Asia Division of the Group, launching the company in Singapore and Malaysia. He has subsequently expanded the division to Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Korea and now Japan.
The division has grown from an AED 20m business in 2009 to over AED 100m by the end of 2018, with over 180 employees.
Started as The International Special Events Society (ISES) in the US in 1987, the Trade Association officially changed its name to the International Live Events Association (ILEA) in May 2016.ILEA is a global community of thousands of creative event professionals whose skills, expertise and experience power some of the most recognized and respected live events around the world.
ILEA provides education and collaborative networking opportunities that achieve creative event experiences. ILEA’s worldwide membership has grown to involve over 5,000 members active in 35 countries throughout the world.
As a founding member of ILEA and an active participant since its inception in the Middle East in 2010, my responsibilities started as the VP of Events and Sponsorship to President-Elect. I officially took over the reins from Dan Bolton in January 2019 and hope to continue the fantastic work that he has started. With a strong board of seasoned industry professionals behind me, together with the support of our members and the wider industry, I look forward to the great honour and responsibility of leading the association into Expo 2020 and beyond.
During my presidency, I will be focusing on going back to basics, ensuring that we reinforce the foundations of our organization for the future. In addition to continuing to grow and strengthen our board and membership base, I have set myself three key objectives for the next 12 to 18 months:
I feel that Emiratization is key if we are to establish a stronger voice in this country and throughout the region. It was never our intention to be an expat organization and I believe that we need additional Emirati and GCC national representation on the board and throughout the membership base in order to rectify this.
Create a Home for the Chapter:
I have felt for some time that it is crucial that we have a physical base that we, our members and our future members can use and benefit from. I feel that this will provide the association with stability and will help to further cement our position in the marketplace, in addition to providing useful space for training, education, meetings, general information sharing, and networking. To me, this will, in turn, demonstrate to the local government that we are a serious industry sector that has a role to play in the economy of this country and that there is a benefit to working closely with us going forward.
Improve Our Financial Health:
Finally, I would like to improve the financial state of the organization and feel that the generation of additional revenue is crucial to our survival. Clearly, we are a non-profit organization, however, the more funds we generate, the more resources we have available to us to reinvest into training, education, events, health & safety, licensing, marketing & promotion.
In summary, in 18 months’ time at the end of my presidency, I would like to be able to look back and see that we have made a lasting difference to our industry, with measurable results that have had a positive impact for our members and their companies. I hope also, that these results will have enabled the chapter to have grown, particularly as we welcome the largest event in the world, Expo 2020, to the country.
It is clear to me that we as an industry need to work collaboratively to achieve these goals and hope that I can count on the support of each of our members, as well as our board, to come together to move the industry forward.