“We brought people together” – CEO Peter King to leave Melbourne venue

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Peter King, MCEC chief executive Peter King is stepping down as CEO of MCEC after 11 years Photo Credit: MCEC

Peter King, the CEO of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), is stepping down after more than a decade in charge of the waterfront meetings venue.

During his tenure he oversaw the venue’s $205m expansion, delivered record sales, drove sustainability in business events, and transformed the organisation during the pandemic.

He was also instrumental in bringing Victoria’s annual charity event - The Good Friday Appeal –which has raised millions for the Royal Children’s Hospital - to the venue.

King will remain with MCEC until a replacement is found.

In 2018 King led the expansion of MCEC, which increased event space by 25 per cent and grew MCEC’s total size to 70,000 square metres, the largest centre of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

I have had a fantastic innnings

In recent years he has pushed MCEC to become an international l leader in sustainability in business events. In 2018 MCEC became a partner in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project which means the 20,000 square metre expansion space at MCEC, is powered with renewable energy. In 2019 the business recovered more than 68 tonnes of food waste and donated 74,000 meals to OzHarvest. 

During his time at MCEC, King was focused on maximising MCEC’s impact for Melbourne and Victoria, and in 2019 MCEC had a record economic impact to the state, exceeding $1.1bn.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 – he embraced the challenges this presented to the business by managing the transformation and diversification of the business. This included supporting the Victorian State Government’s vaccination rollout and adapting the space to attract partners such as The LUME Melbourne, Australia’s first permanent digital art gallery.

While competitors paused during lockdowns, King oversaw a comprehensive business transformation to an Agile operating model, to better position MCEC to serve customers in the wake of the pandemic. The organisation will see the benefits of this legacy for years to come.

King said: “My feelings are mixed, because whilst I have loved every minute of working with all of you in an extraordinary industry, I also feel the time is right for a changing of the guard. I have had a fantastic innings with the MCEC and feel optimistic about its future.

“I do want to call out the incredible achievements we have made as a team, most recently amongst them the opening of our major expansion in 2018, a record economic contribution of $1.1 billion to the state in 2019 and incredible displays of resilience over a difficult last two years. 

“Beyond that, over many years, we have bought together people from all over the world to be educated, exchange knowledge, be entertained and importantly – to enjoy our wonderful town of Melbourne. What a privilege it has been. My most prevailing memory will be the long line of great people I’ve had the honour of working with at MCEC.”

Minister for Tourism, Sport, and Major Events, Martin Pakula, said: “Peter has been instrumental in building Victoria’s profile through conferences and businesses events over many years. I thank Peter for his work as chief executive – his dedication has been crucial to the state’s success in this sector.”

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

A journalist for more than 22 years, AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Page proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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