Expo chief steps down


Werner Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Drupa and Interpack organiser Messe Düsseldorf, is to leave the event venue next week.

Dornscheidt: important that trade fair operations are resumed again quickly
Dornscheidt: important that trade fair operations are resumed again quickly

66-year old Dornscheidt retires on 30 June after an almost 37-year career with the €378.5m events group, the last 17 as CEO.

“Trade fairs are my life,” he said.

“What we have built up together with my team over all those years benefits the company today. While conditions are difficult at present, it is comforting to know that ‘my’ company is in good hands.”

In March, Messe Düsseldorf was forced to reschedule this year’s Drupa and Interpack as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The new dates are: Interpack 25 February to 3 March 2021, and Drupa 20-30 April 2021. A number of exhibitors have subsequently withdrawn from the event.

Dornscheidt will be replaced by expo veteran Wolfram Diener, who joined Messe Düsseldorf in 2018 as managing director operative business. Diener has held a number of senior management rolls in the events sector for companies including UBM, Shanghai New International Expo, Messe Frankfurt; Hamburg Messe.

In a statement about his departure, Messe Düsseldorf credited Dornscheidt with creating a strong business that is fiscally prepared to for “buffering the effects of the Corona pandemic”.

Dornscheidt became vice CEO of Messe Düsseldorf in 1990, before becoming CEO of Leipziger Messe in 1999 and rejoining Messe Düsseldorf as CEO in 2004.

During his tenure as chief executive, the group’s ROI doubled and sales and profits increased in its last full year of trading by almost 30% and 132% respectively.

“I am delighted at the trust placed in me. We can perfectly build on Werner Dornscheidt’s achievements and jointly rise to the challenges ahead,” said Diener (pictured above).

“Here in Düsseldorf we boast an inimitable brand profile that can be made even more successful through the drivers that are internationalisation and digitalisation; and what’s just as important: a powerful team.”

According to the Messe, research has proven its events portfolio generates almost €3bn for the German economy, including €1.6bn for the city of Dusseldorf alone, supporting 27,600 jobs nationally and 16,600 locally.

Which is why, according to Dornscheidt, “it is all the more important that trade fair operations are resumed again quickly.”

Trade fairs in Germany are planning to re-start this autumn, with the first date in the Messe Dusseldorf calendar currently a show that will open in the first week of September.

To support Diener in his new role managing director of fair management Erhard Wienkamp and managing director finance & technical operations, digital strategy & communication Bernhard Stempfle will join the Messe’s Board of managing directors.

“Markets are shifting, the world is getting more international, digital and complex. The Covid-19 pandemic brings unprecedented challenges. Wolfram Diener, Bernhard Stempfle and Erhard Wienkamp are the ideal trio to steer Messe Düsseldorf through the Corona crisis and place it in pole position for the future,” said Dornscheidt.

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