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NEC Group chief Paul Thandi to become chair

Birmingham-based NEC Group has announced that Paul Thandi is to move into the position of chair after 16 years as CEO.

NEC Group manages five of the UK’s leading business, leisure, and entertainment venues including the 15,700-cap Resorts World Arena and 16,118-cap Utilita Arena Birmingham, as well as national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory.

Under Thandi’s leadership, the group has secured record levels of growth and hosted events from the G7 Summit and Conservative Party Conferences, to Crufts, Concert for Ukraine, Wireless Festival and last summer’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

In recent years, he has also spearheaded an NEC Masterplan initiative and steered the group from public sector ownership to private ownership through two management buyouts.

“To be at the helm of this incredible business for so many years has been an honour and I look forward to maintaining a key role”

Thandi will succeed current chairman, Peter Phillipson, who is stepping down from the board in September, while Melanie Smith will take on the role of NEC Group CEO.

Smith was most recently CEO of Ocado.com, and previously held senior roles at Marks & Spencer, Bupa and TalkTalk.

“To be at the helm of this incredible business for so many years has been an honour and I look forward to maintaining a key role in driving the growth of the group,” says Thandi. “We have been lucky to secure Mel to take on the leadership position. The importance of our people and my belief in giving them the best leadership, support and strategy, are all values that Mel shares close to her in her business and personal life, and I look forward to working with her over the coming years. It has been the greatest pleasure being CEO – there are more incredible things to come for the NEC Group.”

In addition, Paul Reeve expected to join the Group as Chief Financial Officer in October, succeeding Richard Ashton. Reeve has spent the last 10 years of his career in senior finance roles at AEG, most recently as CFO.


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