Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre’s Managing Director Brian Horsburgh is to retire from the organisation after 18 years.
Graeme Cumming, currently Deputy Managing Director and Finance Director, will be taking on the role of Acting Managing Director. Graeme will be supported by Fiona Mann, who will be taking on the role of Acting Deputy Managing Director alongside her current role as Director of Operations and Safety.
After ten years in venue management at Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh and Rothes Halls, Glenrothes; Brian joined Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) in 1997 as Director of Conferences, ahead of a major re-development project at the Centre. The extended and re-developed Venue was opened in April 2003, by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, and as Director of Sales and Marketing at that time Brian played a central role in the plans and delivery of the extended facilities.
In 2006 Brian became Deputy Managing Director and was later (2008) appointed Managing Director. This year is Brian’s eighteenth year at AECC – which has included seven SPE Offshore Europe events as well as many hundred others which have taken place at the AECC. He has described it as an “interesting journey” following the opening of the re-developed Centre in 2003.
“I’ve been privileged to lead one of the UK’s great conference and exhibition facilities supported by a great team here,” Horsburgh said. “After almost 18 years with the company and seven as MD, it’s time to move on and transfer AECC’s helm to a new leader who can take the business forward and manage the transition to the new venue. Whilst the current business environment is challenging, the future of the city region and the new AECC is positive, exciting times lay ahead. I wish the team and the venue redevelopment every success.”
The last decade has been very successful for AECC, with turnover trebling from £2.5m in 2001/2002 to £8.45m in 2013/14. Additionally, AECC has increased its economic contribution to the Aberdeen City and Shire Region; from around £12million in 1989 to £140 million per annum, supporting more than 1,000 jobs across the region.
The start of 2015 has been a very exciting one for the North East’s largest events and entertainment Venue – with the announcement of redevelopment plans by the AECC’s owners Aberdeen City Council. The new facility in Dyce is planned to open in 2018 and will more than double the current AECC’s size and capacities.
AECC Chairman, Ed Gillespie today said “The next few years will be filled with excitement and change for the AECC team, this will lead to a fantastic legacy to be enjoyed not just by the people of Aberdeen but by music fans, visitors and conference delegates from across the North East of Scotland and beyond. On behalf of the AECC Board, I offer very best wishes to Brian in his retirement and thank him for driving the business to where it is today.”
Louise Lonie, Head of Sales and Marketing, has also been appointed a board member and will now be Director of Sales and Marketing.