After more than 20 years of outstanding service, Mr Robert Annells PSM has officially stepped down as Chairman of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust(MCET), with his significant contribution acknowledged at a private farewell reception last night.
Mr Annells was appointed to the MCET on 5 February 1997, rising to Chair precisely one year later in 1998. During this time, Mr Annells has overseen Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre's (MCEC) momentous growth in the international business events market, from developing operations in the Exhibition Centre to commissioning the construction of the Convention Centre.
Most recently, Mr Annells leadership has been instrumental in securing support for the development of MCEC's current expansion, which will complete the vision for the venue as a vibrant events and entertainment destination and cement its title as Australia's largest convention and exhibition centre.
Mr Annells said his achievement in commissioning and constructing almost $1 billion in purpose-built facilities is due to the support he has received from MCEC's stakeholders and wider community.
"I am extremely privileged to have secured the trust and support of governments of all political persuasions over the past 20 years. It has enabled me, my fellow Trustees and MCEC's incredibly competent and committed group of employees to build a business of real importance to the Victorian economy, housed within a fantastic facility that mirrors to a very large extent the tremendous growth in Melbourne and Victoria as a tourist destination. "It has been an honour to be a part of that journey," Mr Annells said.
During his time, Mr Annells has seen over 23,000 events and more than 10 million registered business delegates through the venue's doors, generating over $1.1 billion in revenue for the business.
MCEC Chief Executive, Peter King thanked Mr Annells for his sound guidance and outstanding service to the business, acknowledging his contribution cannot be overstated.
"To say that Bob has played an integral part in shaping MCEC's offering and the wider business events industry is an understatement. The sophistication of competing venues throughout Australia and Asia, combined with the amount of investment competing destinations provide to secure events, has required some very strategic thinking and guidance which Bob has skilfully provided over the past 20 years.
"MCEC certainly wouldn't be the world-leading venue that it is today if it weren't for Bob Annells," Mr King added. Minister for Tourism and Major Events, the Hon. John Eren also thanked Mr Annells for his dedication to the tourism and business events industry.
"I would personally like to thank Robert Annells for his long-standing work as MCET Chair. MCEC is an incredibly valuable asset for Victoria and his hard work has been crucial to growing our success in this sector," Mr Eren said. Newly appointed MCET Chairman, Mr John Brumby AO officially commenced on 11 August 2017.