Natalie O’Brien Am has been appointed new Chief Executive for Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). O’Brien joins the business in January 2023 and, according to a press release, brings “a wealth of leadership experience in the tourism and events industry”.
She is a former CEO of Food and Wine Victoria, producers of Australia’s internationally acclaimed Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Most recently she has managed her own strategy consultancy, while operating as a CEO for Wine Victoria, and previously interim CEO for Ballarat Regional Tourism, where she led the co-design of Visitor Economy Recovery Plans.
Ms O’Brien was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Australia Day Honours list for significant service to tourism, food, and the community of Victoria.
As CEO of MCEC, O’Brien will be responsible for the overall management, business plan delivery and future strategic direction of MCEC and the operational planning for the new Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCEC). O’Brien will step into the role following the departure of outgoing CEO, Peter King, who finishes with the business after eleven years at the end of 2022.
Reportedly, O’Brien joins MCEC “at a crucial time as the organisation recovers from the impact of COVID-19 and builds for the future”. The centre has reopened to “a strong demand for business in 2022 and her experience will play a key role in continuing to guide the business back to its pre-pandemic levels of success in the coming years”, the press release says.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust Chair, The Hon. John Brumby AO, commented: “We’re really pleased with Natalie’s appointment as CEO of MCEC. We’ve been lucky to attract an executive with the experience and skillset to lead the organisation in the years ahead. She brings great insight and a tremendous track record of driving change and growth in organisations.”
Speaking about her appointment to the role, Natalie O’Brien AM said: “I can’t wait to work with the incredible team at MCEC, empowering them to continue to achieve their very best and contribute to the experience of all visitors to, and residents of, this vibrant and diverse state. I’m especially looking forward to building strong relationships with our customers, our people, the community we serve, and key government and industry stakeholders, while also fostering new partnerships and business outcomes in an increasingly competitive market.”