By Joyce DiMascio

The growing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold with the announcement this week that Reed Exhibitions, the second biggest expo company in the world, is to shed 500 staff.

The news was reported in UK’s Financial Times and also by Exhibition World.

In Australia, the impact is being felt with at least one senior executive announcing his departure due to redundancy after 17 years with the company. Others have also lost jobs but the company has not disclosed who and how many people in Sydney were affected by the cost cutting.

Reed Exhibitions Australia senior executive and industry stalwart John Gorton’s last day was last Friday. He posted news of his departure on LinkedIn saying he reflected with gratitude and pride on his role in building and leading high-performance teams, driving business growth and delivering exceptional customer value through best-in-class events and digital products.

“Thank you to all my RX colleagues and external partners and suppliers for your long-standing collaboration and valued support and friendship. I wish you all every success as the Australian events industry bounces back strongly in 2021,” he said.

micenet contacted Reed Exhibitions Australia chief, Brian Thomas who would not comment on the specific impacts in Australia. He provided the following statement which has been issued globally.

“The many thousands of employees at Reed Exhibitions remain committed to all the sectors and geographies in which we operate, and we look forward to launching hundreds of exhibitions worldwide as soon as it becomes possible. As a responsible company, we are implementing necessary cost reductions across our global organisation, and in 2021 are looking to run at least 90 per cent of the annual events by revenue that we ran in 2019.”

Reed Exhibitions Australia is one of the biggest clients of the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) where it runs Reed Gift Fairs. It is also the owner of the popular pop-culture events, Oz Comic-Con.

There has been wide speculation over several years that Reed Exhibitions would be acquired by Informa Markets which is now the biggest expo company in the world. Market analysts have suggested there may be a sell-off by Reed Exhibitions of some of its shows as opposed to a total merger with Informa. Time will tell but for now, like all responsible companies, Reed Exhibitions has taken the difficult step of parting with some of its most senior and capable people.