Natalie O’Brien has been appointed chief executive of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), a role she will step into on January 9, 2023.
She takes over the reins from Peter King, who departs MCEC after 11 years.
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.
“When I start the role in early 2023, I will focus on leaning in and listening. I want to understand from our team and stakeholders what the current business opportunities and challenges are in this new operating environment. This will be a time to listen, gather insights and harness the experience and working knowledge of the organisation, its people, customers, and partners,” she told TTGmice.
“Integrating the needs of future audiences is front of mind for me. Our forward planning will consider changed consumer behaviours looking for deeper experiences, a hybrid business environment, acceleration of technology, increasing digitisation, AI, and its integration with the workforce. I’m also looking forward to understanding MCEC’s sustainability and community programmes. The organisation has been a leader in this space and it’s a focus that all organisations must continue to grow.”
O’Brien brings a wealth of leadership experience in the tourism and events industry. She is the former CEO of Food and Wine Victoria, producers of Australia’s Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.
She currently manages her own strategy consultancy, while operating as the CEO for Wine Victoria, and previously interim CEO for Ballarat Regional Tourism, where she led the co-design of Visitor Economy Recovery Plans.