May 27, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (BCEC) founding general manager Bob O’Keeffe will step away from the role after more than 27 years, to take on two new positions within BCEC’s venue management company ASM Global, paving the way for the venue to welcome a new GM.

Kym Guesdon, who is currently BCEC’s human resources director and the regional group director for HR for ASM Global, will take on the GM role for the centre.

Chairman and CEO of ASM Global in APAC Harvey Lister offered a strong endorsement of Guesdon’s promotion.

“Kym has been a senior executive at BCEC for more than 20 years and has full knowledge of the commercial and operational environment of the centre. She played an extremely critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be an outstanding general manager,” he said.

As part of “long-held succession plans” for the venue, O’Keeffe will maintain his involvement with BCEC, becoming its CEO as well as taking on a role as COO of venue operations for ASM Global in the APAC region.

Guesdon’s selection as BCEC’s new GM goes some way to address the gender imbalance across the top roles in Australia’s major convention centres. With Guesdon at the helm, three out of nine centre GMs will now be female – with all three women leading Queensland’s convention charge – the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and Cairns Convention Centre are the only other major centres across Australia being led by women.

Guesdon said she saw her role as going further than managing events at the venue.

“The centre is the major driver of business events to Brisbane and Queensland and going forward as well as ensuring the success of the centre, I see my role also as a key stakeholder in promoting the destination,” she said.

“Brisbane’s infrastructure development has already begun, and with the boost of further investment as part of the official Olympic Infrastructure program, Brisbane’s appeal as a business events destination is expected to skyrocket.”

The leadership transition is expected to begin at the end of this month.