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Paul Flackett, meetings industry pioneer, dies, aged 69

Innovator’s death adds note of sadness to 56th ICCA Congress in Prague

Pictured: Paul Flackett

Meetings industry pioneer Paul Flackett has died in a nursing home after a long illness, aged 69.

The managing director of trade show IMEX was an industry leader in the true sense, helping to guide real change in his three decades plus in the events industry.

He was one of the triumvirate that created EIBTM in Geneva, in 1987, the trade show that broke the industry mould by introducing the hosted buyer concept.

Flackett worked with Ray Bloom and John Haynes to make EIBTM a huge success before Bloom sold it to Reed Exhibitions. During that time Bloom and Flackett forged a strong friendship that stood the test of time. So that when Bloom decided to come back into the industry with the launch of IMEX, in 2001, it was natural that he would turn to his old ally to create the new event. Ten years later they worked together again on the launch of IMEX America.

Flackett was a member of SITE, the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, and served as president in 1995 and SITE Foundation President in 2002. He was chancellor for Meetings Professionals International and served as vice chairman of the Destinations International European Advisory Council.

In recognition of his exceptional contribution to the meetings industry in 2004 he was presented with the Moises Shuster award from the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

Flackett’s strength was in building relationships with customers and turning them into friends and supporters. The huge number of cards from well-wishers, which surrounded his hospital bed in the past few months, stood testimony to the affection and respect he commanded in the industry.

In a letter to colleagues, Ray Bloom, chairman IMEX Group, said: “Paul has been by my side as a friend and in business for over 30 years and was an inspiration to us all in how he conducted himself throughout his career, in particular the humour he brought to us all. I know that he will be greatly missed by all who knew him and our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

ICCA chief executive, Martin Sirk, said: “Paul was someone who always had a story and his memory will live on in ICCA coffee breaks for many years to come. He was a genuinely nice guy who had time, and respect, for everyone,  no matter what their position, and he will be badly missed by everyone in this industry all around the world.”

CAT Publications managing editor, Martin Lewis, said: “I worked with Paul before he joined IMEX. In the early 1980s we worked for a magazine called Conferences & Exhibitions and became and remained great friends. I remember him as an excellent organiser but also very creative. His records were fastidiously maintained and his planning was detailed. We travelled widely together and I always enjoyed his wit and charm. He valued his friends greatly.”


  • Jane Vong Holmes of GainingEdge (Kuala Lumpur) 25/11/2017

    Paul was a true friend of Asia. Whenever he could, he would support us in our meetings industry seminars and training. With deep gratitude and love from all of his friends and contacts in Asia.

  • Steven Hacker of Bravo Management Group 15/11/2017

    Paul's loss at such an early age is truly tragic. I have always thought of Paul as one of our industry's brightest beacons, he always focused on the customer first and demonstrated to the rest of us how an event organizer should conduct himself personally and professionally. I shall always remember Paul as a special friend and colleague.

  • Behroz Daroga of MEC USA by AMERICAN VALUE TOURS 13/11/2017

    We have lost another true friend in the meeting Industry.
    Our heartfelt condolences to Paul’s family and also
    IMEX who was his second family.
    May his soul Rest In Peace

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