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Melbourne’s record-breaking Bolinger steps down after ‘personal loss’

Karen Bolinger, the tireless CEO of Melbourne Convention Bureau, has announced her imminent departure from the organisation after more than seven-and-a-half years at the helm.

She will step down on 5 April in what is expected to be another record year for the bureau in terms of its contribution to the economy – adding around AU$500m to the region’s coffers.

A statement from the bureau said she was leaving to ‘take some well-deserved time off before exploring other opportunities’ having suffered a ‘significant personal loss over the last two years’.

Under Bolinger’s stewardship MCB repositioned Melbourne as an ‘innovative business events destination’ by ‘highlighting the city’s intellectual capacity and knowledge sectors’.

This helped to raise the profile of the business events sector as a key economic contributor to the local economy, garnering ongoing support from State and Local Government.

Under Bollinger, the MCB developed the ‘Team Melbourne’ philosophy, driving the amalgamation of the academic and research sectors with the tourism sector to collaborate when bidding for conferences for Victoria. Team Melbourne has now evolved to city-wide collaboration across government, universities, research institutes, hotels, function venues and attractions.

Last year she was awarded the 2018 Joint Meetings Industry Council Unity Award, which recognises those who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the business events industry.

During her tenure she was integral to delivering strategic direction to the many boards she sat on as well as leading the transition for MCB to become part of Visit Victoria (VV).

Chris Barlow, Board Chair, Melbourne Convention Bureau, said: “On behalf of the Melbourne Convention Bureau Board and the Visit Victoria Leadership team, I would like to thank Karen for her commitment to MCB and to wish her all the best for her future endeavours.”