With former politician Bruce Baird AM stepping down as chair of the BESydney board after six years, Professor Mary O’Kane AC, the first NSW chief scientist and engineer, will replace him from February 2024. O’Kane was the state’s chief scientist for 10 years until 2018.
“I am so proud to be leaving the BESydney Board as the organisation returns to peak performance following COVID,” said Baird.
“The past six years with the organisation has certainly seen business highs and lows in an uncertain environment. I look forward to seeing where BESydney will go under Professor Mary O’Kane’s highly credentialed stewardship in February and wish the organisation all the very best.”
BESydney’s CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith praised Baird’s contribution to Sydney’s business events bidding organisation.
“Bruce has been an inspiring leader for BESydney and has steered us through a pandemic.
“His passion for Sydney and the impact business events have on our economy and the city’s livelihood has seen him dedicate the past six years in service to the organisation liaising closely with government and key stakeholders to support the work we do.”
Other new faces on the board include Deborah Zimmer, from BridgeClimb Sydney and Marcus Hanna, vice president of operations for the Pacific for Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems, who were both elected as member directors.
BESydney reported 57 international and national events were held in Sydney during the last financial year, hosting a total of 41,000 delegates. The organisation secured a further 54 business events during financial year 2022-2023, which are expected to see 56,000 delegates gather in Sydney and have an economic impact of $210 million. In total, by the end of June this year, BESydney had 55 global and national business events lined up until 2030, expected to attract 85,000 delegates and generate $364 million for the city’s economy.
Events held in the last financial year pumped $155 million of direct expenditure into NSW.
I’m pleased to report a strong financial year result for secured business,” said Lewis-Smith.
“Boosted by events postponed into 2023 from pandemic-affected years and the Asian incentive market return, calendar year 2023 sees our events delivered for Sydney on track to exceed pre-pandemic years.
“This has been an incredible year for the organisation demonstrated by the recent brand and website launch and our new strategic agenda ‘Change Starts Here’. The organisation is dedicated to social impact and how we can deliver for our clients, our city and globally. Our renewed focus will see some incredible outcomes as we explore ways of making change for the better,” she said.