August 13, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

Darryl Jeffrey’s extensive operations background at Sydney Showground and his leadership of the venue’s COVID-19 response have set him up as the ideal new General Manager to take over from industry veteran, Peter Thorpe, who retired in early July.

Jeffrey’s appointment as the Showground’s new General Manager was announced yesterday.

Jeffrey told micenet that even though COVID had put a dampener on the venue’s current activities he was excited about Sydney Showground’s future.

“Our business has been diversifying and I’m excited to be part of that,” he says.

He says Thorpe steered the way for Sydney Showground to move into four key market segments – stadium sports, concerts and festivals, exhibitions and conferences and other event types including film industry and community events – and he was looking forward to continuing that diversification trajectory.

“I’m looking forward to more interaction with the industry and to forging stronger and deeper relationships,” he says.

He expresses some concern for the exhibition industry and believes it will be some time before it can return to full strength.

“As a venue we need to take stock of that.”

Sydney Showground is part of the Sydney Olympic Park precinct situated at Homebush. Since the major transformation of the site for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, it has gone through several periods of expansion. Another expansion phase is currently going through master planning review.

“We have a Masterplan for the site which includes a new convention centre which will boost the current limitations of the facility,” he said. “These plans are before the NSW Government.”

Jeffrey has been working for Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) and Sydney Showground since 2012. RAS Chief Executive Brock Gilmour says Jeffrey’s extensive knowledge and experience in events and leadership made him the perfect choice to guide Sydney Showground into its next chapter.

“Over the years, Darryl has demonstrated his ability to manage the logistics of the venue and has led his team with great integrity. We’ve watched him steer this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show, AFL season and countless events through the logistical challenges of COVID-19, going above and beyond to deliver results for the organisations and our clients.”

In his new role Jeffrey says he’ll have a much bigger focus on sales and marketing for the site as well building relationships with past, present and future clients. He will hand over his operational responsibility for the Sydney Royal Easter Show to other team members.