MCH Group, which owns and operates the Baselworld trade show in Basel, Switzerland, announced that its CEO René Kamm is stepping down after nearly 20 years at the helm. The group said that move comes after its Supervisory Board and Kamm “reached a joint and mutual conclusion that the time has come for a change in the operational leadership of MCH Group in view of the fundamental transformation phase in business operations.”
Board Chairman Ulrich Vischer will assume operational leadership of the group, with Kamm remaining to provide advice should the need arise during the transition period until a successor is appointed.
The MCH Group is now going through an uncertain phase after the Swatch Group, the single largest participant at the Baselworld show, announced it would no longer exhibit at the show, citing the physical show’s lack of relevance to its global marketing requirements. The move is seen as having a major impact on the MCH Group’s financial results.
MCH said in a statement, however, that it is currently engaged in a transformation process during which it is adapting its alignment to future requirements of the classic trade fair and events business. It said it will continue to pursue the corporate strategy of expanding its range of services, strengthening its international presence and increasing digitisation as a matter of principle.
MCH added that it is confident that strategy implementation will be successful. “The intention is to bring the strategic initiatives launched in recent years to successful completion to compensate for the market-driven downturns in the classic trade fair and event business.”
The group said it will publish information about the half-year results for 2018 on 4 September 4 and will then be able to provide further information with regard to the expected development of results.
Kamm began his career in 1999 as the director of Baselworld, which he transformed from a purely national trade fair to a ‘must attend’ global watch and jewellery event. He focussed on collectors' exhibitions and added Live Marketing Solutions and Event Services, such as those offered by the MC2 company acquired just over a year ago in the US, to the corporate offering.
“I have experienced close to 20 exciting years with Basel Exhibition, Swiss Exhibition and MCH Group”, Kamm said, adding, “I had the opportunity to get to know every aspect of this segment and, as CEO from 2003 on, drive the group's development from a nationally aligned trade fair company to an internationally aligned Live Marketing Group.”
Sylvie Ritter, who had been Managing Director of Baselworld for 15 years, quit last May.