Melbourne is coming to terms with another high-profile departure today after Leigh Harry resigned as chief executive of the Australian city’s Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
Last month, Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCVB) CEO Sandra Chipchase announced her resignation, meaning two of the city’s key business tourism posts are now empty.
Harry, who has been at MCEC for 22 years, has been appointed CEO of Tourism Victoria and deputy secretary Tourism and Aviation at the Department of Business and Innovation. Recruitment for the MCEC’s new leader has already begun. MCEC’s deputy chief Leighton Wood will be acting chief executive from 24 September when Harry starts his new job.
Harry said: “It is with a mixture of regret and great pride that I leave the centre. I am proud of what the team has achieved for Melbourne and Victoria over many years and will miss being part of the group.
“I am pleased that in my new role, business events will continue to be vitally important along with all other aspects of the leisure tourism and major events industries. I am looking forward to taking up the new and critical challenges ahead.”
Tourism and Major Events minister, Louise Asher, said: “Leigh has overseen the development of MCEC into a world class convention and exhibition centre from the time it was a building site in 1989 to today when it has become one of the world’s leading convention and exhibition destinations.”
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust chairperson, Bob Annells, added: “Leigh has been integral in placing Melbourne and Australia on the world stage for meetings and events and is a well-known ambassador for the business events industry. On behalf of the Trust I congratulate Leigh on his appointment and wish him all the best for the future.”
Harry is the president of the Joint Meetings Industry Council and was president of the International Congress and Convention Association from 2006 to 2010. He is the deputy chairman of the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau; chairman of the Business Events Council of Australia; and past president of Meetings and Events Australia.
Meanwhile MCVB has appointed Keith Herdman, who has been part of the organisation's senior management team since 2006, as acting CEO until a permanent replacement is found.
Pictured: Leigh Harry