Congrex UK in management buyout

  • Published by Vedat
Congrex UK Ltd, the UK subsidiary of global PCO Congrex Group, has been bought by its management team led by Congrex Group COO Rob Harrison for an undisclosed sum.

The renamed company, which has a 30 year heritage behind it, will be known as Contendam and will focus on a consultative approach to providing tailored PCO and extended management services to its broad range of UK and international association clients. Contendam will retain all of Congrex UK's existing staff and management team and all client contracts for events will remain with the new ownership.

The management team at Contendam comprises four seasoned PCO professionals who have been working closely together for over two decades, originally at Concorde Services under the direction of industry veteran Sarah Storie-Pugh. Rob Harrison dons the mantle of CEO at Contendam, Susan Hayden is Managing Director, Dion Basset retains the role of Operations Director and Caroline Mackenzie becomes Business Development Director. All 20 staff will remain at Contendam and the firm will be based in its current premises in Hammersmith, London and Glasgow, Scotland.

Contendam CEO Robert Harrison says: "We have witnessed significant changes in the conference industry in recent years, in particular in the association sector, which demand a more agile and tailored approach to delivering events that truly deliver on associations’ wide ranging objectives. To achieve this effectively requires a more consultative approach to understanding association needs and significant flexibility. We believe this can be best achieved with a more independent operation capable of responding quicker to market changes. We chose to take the opportunity to create a new breed of consultative PCO with Contendam, combining traditional PCO values of personal approach with a contemporary approach to flexible working with different experts and consultants to ensure the optimum delivery to meet each specific clients’ needs.”

Contendam has been chosen as the new name for the firm, intending to convey its focus on a more nurturing approach to 'tending' associations and their face-to-face communications requirements. "Our rationale for changing the company name is to make it more relevant for us, the conference industry is first and foremost a people business," Harrison adds. "We want to put the focus back on that personal touch, nurturing relationships and truly looking at why our clients are holding an event at all, starting from the premise of a detailed needs analysis before even thinking about developing any operational plans. We see this very much as the 3rd chapter and we greatly value the legacy of Concorde Services and Congrex UK on which Contendam will continue to build."

Team development will also be a key factor at Contendam, with Harrison aiming to create an environment where people "can envisage a clear career path", aiming to keep staff turnover low and provide consistency of relationship management to clients. "We will be looking closely at training and development for our team," Harrison continues, "in particular in areas such as technology enablers to enhance the user experience of an event, before, during and after and also key issues such as healthcare compliance. We are able to ensure that future investment is made in areas that will directly benefit our clients."

Contendam works with over 20 UK and international associations, including the Association of Physicians UK and Ireland, International Spinal Cord Society and British Laryngological Association to deliver events across the globe. The company is currently developing its new branding and plans to launch its website in the coming weeks. The team may be contacted via Twitter @Contendam.

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