his 40th year in the meetings industry Ray Shaw has stepped down from his role as MD of MCI in Australia to focus on consulting to industry and growing his passion for journalism.

Mr Shaw assumes the position of Chairman of the Board of MCI Australia giving him greater scope to branch out into new areas.

His wife Jan Shaw remains at MCI.

Ray and Jan have both moved to Sydney which Mr Shaw says that along with Melbourne really is the centre of business in Australia.

“Jan is very operational focus and Sydney needs her expertise,” he said.

“Sydney is going to lose a lot of business with the closure of the convention centre – a lot of PCOs are going to struggle – and part of her role will be to ensure that that business returns when the centre reopens.”

Mr Shaw said the meetings business has changed considerably and part of how he sees his new role as a consultant will be in assisting organisations in keeping up.

He says small operators will struggle in the changing environment, citing such aspects as public liability laws and insurance premiums (MCI paid about $50,000 las year), making it harder for smaller players to compete.

Technology, legal issues, greater competition for sponsorship, and marketing (to boost delegates globally) were all challenges.

He said when he was MD of MCI he was focused on day to day operations rather than the bigger picture and his role as Chairman will assist in reaching MCIs global targets.

“Jan and I are loving the Sydney lifestyle and after 40 years in the meetings business I believe this really was the right time to make a change.”