A number of senior executives have been appointed to the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre team in preparation for the venue opening its doors in 2016.

OCEC general manager, Trevor McCartney said the Sultanate of Oman is emerging as an exciting convention destination, with the venue already attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from next year.

To assist in meeting the demands of business meeting organisers worldwide, the OCEC has expanded its business development, technical, finance and food and beverage teams.

The new appointments include Chanaka Fonseka as food and beverage director; Troy Reynolds as head of event operations; Sheikha Al Mugheiry as international business development manager; Thomas Joseph as business development manager for exhibitions; Derek Wilson as audio-visual and production manager; Pieter du Plooy as systems administrator; and Mohammed Waheed Al Lawati as an executive assistant.

Mr McCartney said as the grand opening inches closer, the centre’s priority would be to grow awareness and interest in Oman as a serious contender for hosting large-scale conventions and exhibitions.

“A key part of that strategy will be recruiting staff with expertise in specific areas as well as nurturing and developing the local talent pool,” he said.

Chanaka Fonseka is an internationally experienced executive specialising in food and beverage operations. Chanaka is already part of the AEG Ogden family and has undertaken a number of leadership roles in his career in the hospitality industry.

Troy Reynolds, a member of the Convention Industry Council, brings over 25 years of experience in the events and hospitality industry.

With six years in the local five-star hospitality industry, Sheikha Al Mugheiry’s experience within the international and regional market place will be critical to the OCEC’s relationship with the Omani community and in attracting major international conventions to Oman.

Ms Mugheiry said it is a privilege to be a part of such a landmark development.

“The OCEC is a key opportunity for young Omanis to be exposed to a thriving business events environment and advance themselves professionally, through the highest standards of training from an international venue operator, such as AEG Ogden,” she said.

Thomas Joseph has spent almost a decade in the local exhibition, business and live events industry, and will utilise these skills and his knowledge of the regional market to increase the Sultanate’s market share in this competitive arena.

Derek Wilson joins the OCEC with over 30 years of experience in providing technical services to the exhibition and events industry at some of Great Britain’s foremost convention centres and global events, including a managerial position at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Pieter du Plooy has developed an extensive knowledge base on business systems analysis over the past 25 years, working closely with unique, industry-specific software to provide a single solution to the fully-integrated management of the events and meetings marketplace.

Mohammed Waheed Al Lawati brings to the OCEC a range of marketing and entrepreneurship skills. He has previously been involved in a number of large scale national projects and previously served in a pivotal role with Injaz Oman, which is part of the internationally renowned Junior Achievement Worldwide organisation.

Mr McCartney said the OCEC would continue its local and international recruitment drive with the aim of attracting more than 180 full-time staff by the end of this year.

(Back row left to right): Mohammed Waheed Al Lawati, Pieter du Plooy, Derek Wilson, Thomas Joseph and Chanaka Fonseka

(Front row left to right): Troy Reynolds and Sheikha Al Mugheiry


For more information visit www.omanconvention.com