September 20, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

There’s been a change at the helm of Business Sydney, with Paul Nicolaou appointed as its new Executive Director from last week.

Nicolaou has been a big supporter of the business events sector advocating on its behalf through his most recent roles as the Director of the Business Leaders’ Council and Director of Membership and Events at national peak body, the Australian Chamber. He will leave these positions at the end of September but has already taken over the reins at Business Sydney – the new name for the Sydney Business Chamber.

With the need to reopen Sydney and kickstart its economy which has been deeply impacted by a months-long COVID lockdown, his role at Business Sydney becomes more crucial.

In announcing his appointment, the Business NSW notification said: “Paul’s passion for business, and strength in building long-standing relationships and networks within industry and government has also led to an increase in membership events from less than five in 2015, to over 60 per annum currently. Over the period since March 2020, he co-ordinated and led over 100 webinars in response to COVID-19 with key guests including the Prime Minister, Federal Treasurer, Deputy PM and leader of the Federal Opposition.

“With deep and proven experience in membership engagement, member representation and advocacy, leadership and mentoring of staff, reputation management, monitoring of market needs and trends, Paul has been influential to achieve strategic influence, development and promotion of the Chamber brand, especially in Sydney. Functions which both advocate for the best policies to help business, and the Australian economy grow.”

He is credited with boosting membership at the Australian Chamber from 35 to 147 across five years.

Nicolaou is considered a master networker capable of bringing together key communities to shine the light on important business and community issues. He has been an active supporter of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) and the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB).

The business events sector needs all the help it can get to recover from the closure of international borders and the limitations on events since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.

Advocacy in Sydney is driven by an intricate network of business groups. Recently a new alliance was formed called the Business Events Coalition. Business Sydney is one of its founding partners and earlier this month it issued a statement calling for the NSW government to ensure business events are a high priority for reopening.

Business Sydney said: “The multi-billion-dollar business events sector will bring so much to the CBD’s economic recovery, in fact the empty CBD won’t recover until business events return. These large corporate conferences and events bring thousands into the city who spend on hospitality, accommodation, transport and visitor attractions.”

Nicolaou’s appointment comes at a critical time for Sydney and for business events.