Last Word with Andy Gibb

The managing director at Ricoh Arena on simplifying the exhibiting process, his running leggings and blasting out Highway to Hell in the car with his sons.

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What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?

 

Cooperation between the three pillars: venues, organisers and contractors.

 

What are the three things you would change in the industry?

 

1. One industry voice to represent us all at an international, national and local level.

2. Better market research to promote our industry and highlight the true benefits of exhibiting.

3. Simplify the exhibiting process; after 25 years in the industry I still can’t believe how many barriers we put in people’s way.

 

Which speaker has most impressed you at an exhibition?

 

Polar explorer Robert Swan was inspirational, but for sheer entertainment, Andrew Evans and Hugh Keeble in the ‘Paris courtroom’ sketch.

 

Which member of the industry is least likely to get a round in first?

 

I’ve always found our industry to be incredibly generous at the bar!

 

Where is the best place for a nightcap and what would it be?

 

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon; there’s world-class entertainment on our doorstep, with a glass of Argentinian Malbec.

 

What’s the worst idea you have seen at an exhibition?

 

Not an idea but also not ideal: exhibitors staring at their phones on the stand.

 

How did you get into events?

 

I followed David and Richard Pegler to Blenheim, and it kind of went from there.

 

Favourite restaurant – best dish?

 

Definitely Loch Fyne in Poole. Go for the smoked haddock and mustard mash.

 

Most prized possession?

 

My wedding ring.

 

What’s your karaoke song of choice?

 

It’s a long time since I performed karaoke, but I love blasting out Highway to Hell in the car with our boys.

 

What one thing do you do better than anyone else?

 

Blast out Highway to Hell in the car with our boys.

 

Who would play you in a movie?

 

Danny DeVito.

 

Biggest weakness?

 

Red wine and red Leicester.

 

Proudest moment?

 

Outside the industry would be the birth of our two boys. Inside the industry, hearing 36,000 fans welcome Bruce Springsteen on stage.

 

Team you support and why?

 

Manchester City, because when I started primary school in Manchester in 1968, City were the team. And also Wasps, because a very, very long time ago, I played for them, and now I work for them!

 

What’s the best putdown you’ve heard in the industry?

 

“My dear boy, anyone can give it away,” Brian Wiseman once said to me.

 

Tell us something we don’t know about you?

 

I ran a 56-mile ultra-marathon in South Africa, in 10 hours and 17 minutes, and beat Gordon Ramsay in the process.

 

Worst item of clothing you own?

 

Running leggings. Not a good look for a middle-aged man.

 

Most embarrassing song you own?

 

Cheeseburger in Paradise by Jimmy Buffett.

 

Describe the events industry in one word.

 

Rewarding.

 

What was the last movie you watched?

 

Rogue One at the Regal Cinema in Evesham, a refurbished art deco cinema with big comfy chairs and settees.

 

Worst job you’ve had/worst experience you’ve had in the workplace?

 

As a battery salesman for Duracell, I had to price up (it was pre-barcodes!) and restock the in-store displays, which in Hamleys at Christmas was an absolute nightmare.

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