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Messe Frankfurt restructures its senior management team in Greater China

1 Aug 2022

To provide the expertise and agility needed to respond to developments in the fast-changing Greater China market, global exhibition organiser Messe Frankfurt has today announced a restructuring of its board level leadership across its subsidiaries in the region. The reorganisation will see senior management from four of the company’s Greater China subsidiaries play a more active role in steering the company in the region, with each bringing a combination of new knowledge, international perspectives and the local understanding needed to deal with challenges such as the pandemic.

Explaining the restructuring, Mr Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt Group, expressed: “Messe Frankfurt is fortunate to hold a remarkable depth of talent across our Greater China subsidiaries, which we are now elevating to have a greater influence in the company’s operations in the region. The changes have come into force today, with key leadership from our Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Taiwan offices moved into more senior board level positions at their respective entities. The shake-up will also provide fresh impetus for the company to identify and harness opportunities in Greater China, including Messe Frankfurt’s push to drive revenue through sustainable business practices.”

Extensive, well-rounded management experience in Greater China

In the company’s Hong Kong headquarters for Asia, Mr Stephan Buurma, Managing Director, Messe Frankfurt Asia Holding Ltd, will hand over his responsibilities managing the Hong Kong subsidiary to Ms Wendy Wen and Mr Richard Li. With this new management team reporting to him directly, along with the Finance, Human Resources and Corporate Public Relations functions, Mr Buurma will continue to steer the Greater China business as part of Messe Frankfurt’s wider Asia strategy.

Ms Wen brings almost 30 years of operational and commercial know-how to her new responsibilities. As the new Managing Director and Chairperson of the Board of Management, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, she will take charge of all commercial concerns for the subsidiary with the exceptions of digital business, IT and marketing. Utilising her expertise in operations and sponsorship marketing, Ms Wen will also continue to manage the company’s trade fairs for consumer goods, textiles & textile technologies in the region. This includes Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics Autumn, one of the world’s most comprehensive exhibitions for the textile industry.

With an extensive track record in the exhibition industry stretching back to 1997, Mr Richard Li has been promoted to Executive Director of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, in addition to his position as a Member and Chairperson of the respective Boards of Management. In this capacity, Mr Li continues to oversee all commercial concerns of the Shanghai office except Human Resources & Administration, with new responsibilities to supervise the support functions of digital business, IT and marketing for the Hong Kong subsidiary. He will also continue to manage Messe Frankfurt’s Greater China trade fair portfolio in the building technologies, consumer goods, environmental technologies, event and entertainment technologies, food technologies, textile care, cleaning & cleanroom technologies. These include a number of flagship events in their respective sectors such as ISH China & CIHE in Beijing, Prolight + Sound in Guangzhou and Music China in Shanghai.

On top of these new responsibilities, both Mr Li and Ms Wen have been appointed as Chairperson of the Board of Management and Director respectively of Guangzhou Guangya Messe Frankfurt Co Ltd, where they will utilise their industry networks, local knowledge and extensive experience to provide strategic guidance to the joint venture.

Key talent is also being leveraged in other areas of the Greater China business. As an 18 year veteran of the company, Mr Jason Cao, Assistant Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt Asia Holding Ltd and Principal Consultant of Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Ltd, will take charge of the company’s entire outgoing business in Greater China – an important revenue driver which the company aims to increase under Mr Cao’s leadership. This involves utilising his extensive industry knowledge and connections to recruit and promote exhibitors to Messe Frankfurt’s network of exhibitions overseas. In his expanded role, Mr Cao will maintain oversight of the company’s mobility & logistics trade fairs and continue to report directly to Mr Buurma.

The overhaul will also see key personnel moved into board level positions, creating new space for talent to emerge. Mr James Yu, Deputy General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd, has been appointed as a Board Member of the Shanghai subsidiary. Under Mr Cao’s direction, Mr Yu will assume new responsibility overseeing the Shanghai subsidiary’s Human Resources & Administration functions and continue to administer the company’s mobility & logistics fairs in mainland China.

In the company’s Taiwan office, Ms Regina Tsai has been tasked with overseeing commercial concerns and outgoing business as the General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd – Taiwan Branch. As part of her remit, she is also in charge of three of Asia’s most influential trade fairs for the safety and security industries, including Secutech in Taipei, which is now in its 24th edition. The three fairs are supported by Messe Frankfurt’s a&s media business of publications, websites and magazines for the security industry.

Messe Frankfurt bids farewell to Mr Zhao Wei Ping

On top of the senior management restructure, Messe Frankfurt also wishes a happy retirement to one of its longest serving members of staff, Mr Zhao Wei Ping, who will leave the Shanghai subsidiary next month.

With over three decades of trade fair experience gained in Canada, Hong Kong and China, Mr Zhao’s 20 year career at Messe Frankfurt began in 2002, when he was instrumental in setting up the company’s Shanghai subsidiary and the Beijing branch in 2003. In the intervening time he assumed greater responsibility as an integral member of the management team, eventually rising to become Chairman of the Board of Management and General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd in 2017.

“Using his extensive network and knowledge within the exhibition industry, Mr Zhao was adept at nurturing contacts and building bridges with various business sectors, trade associations and industry groups,” says Mr Stephan Buurma, Managing Director, Messe Frankfurt Asia Holding Ltd. “Leveraging these skills and his strong work ethic, he was a vital part of the company’s expansion in China over the past two decades. In particular, Mr Zhao was a key figure in establishing our Shanghai subsidiary, which is this year celebrating its 20 year milestone. From just six employees at its opening in 2002, the Shanghai office has grown to some 120 staff today. During this time, the office has assumed a central role in organising some of Messe Frankfurt’s flagship trade fairs, including Automechanika Shanghai and ISH China & CIHE. It was an honour to have worked with Mr Zhao, and I wish him and his family all the best in his retirement.”

Messe Frankfurt’s presence in Greater China can be traced back to 1987, when Interstoff Asia, the company’s first trade fair held outside of Frankfurt took place in Hong Kong. Today, the company boasts eight subsidiaries located throughout the region, employing around 500 employees, and organising more than 40 trade fairs.


Background information on Messe Frankfurt
The Messe Frankfurt Group is one of the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organisers with their own exhibition grounds. With a workforce of some 2,200 people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 28 subsidiaries, it organises events around the world. As in the previous year, annual sales for 2021 were significantly lower owing to the COVID-19 pandemic: approximately €154 million compared with Group sales as high as €736 million in pre-pandemic 2019. We serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. Sustainable business practices are a central pillar of our corporate strategy and strike a healthy balance between ecological and economic interests, social responsibility and diversity. Another of Messe Frankfurt’s strengths is its powerful and closely knit global sales network, which covers around 180 countries in all regions of the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are using our digital expertise to develop new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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