By Sarah Burt
Peter King, Chief Executive of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), announced that he will leave his role after eleven years.
Peter has had an incredibly successful tenure bringing the Good Friday Appeal to MCEC, overseeing the venue’s expansion, delivering record revenue for MCEC and economic impact for the state of Victoria, driving sustainability in business events, and transforming the organisation during the pandemic.
“Peter has been instrumental in building Victoria’s global profile through conferences and businesses events over many years,” said Martin Pakula, Minister for Tourism, Sport, and Major Events. “I thank Peter for his work as Chief Executive – his dedication has been crucial to the state’s success in this sector.”
Hon. John Brumby, Chair of MCET, added, “Peter has achieved incredible things with the MCEC team, including the delivery of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre expansion that has seen the venue cement its flagship status as the region’s premier home of business events.
“Over my time as Chair since 2017, I have valued Peter’s strategic counsel, emotional intelligence, confident leadership, and industry insight. These have been especially important attributes over the last two years during which Peter has steered the organisation through great uncertainty in the face of the pandemic as well as overseeing a major transformation to the organisation’s operating model.”
He will remain with MCEC as it manages this business transition and is committed to ensuring its success as we emerge from the acute stage of the pandemic. This time will allow for the MCEC to recruit his replacement.
In 2014 MCEC officially became the home of the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, one of Australia’s most iconic and life-changing fundraising events.
In 2018 he led the $205 million expansion of MCEC which increased event space by 25 percent and grew MCEC’s total size to 70,000 square metres, the largest centre of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
In recent years Peter pushed MCEC to become a global leader in sustainability in business events. In 2018 MCEC became a partner in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project which means the 20,000 square metre expansion space at MCEC is powered with renewable energy. In 2019 the business recovered more than 68 tonnes of food waste and donated over 74,000 meals to food rescue organisation, OzHarvest.
During his time at MCEC Peter was focused on maximising MCEC’s impact for Melbourne and Victoria, and in 2019 MCEC had a record economic impact to the state, exceeding $1.1 billion.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Peter embraced the challenges this presented to the business by managing the transformation and diversification of the business. This included supporting the Victorian State Government’s vaccination rollout and adapting the space to attract partners such as The LUME Melbourne, Australia’s first permanent digital art gallery. While competitors paused during lockdowns, Peter oversaw a comprehensive business transformation to an agile operating model to better position MCEC to serve customers in the wake of the pandemic. The organisation will see the benefits of this legacy for years to come.
“My feelings are mixed, because whilst I have loved every minute of working with all of you in an extraordinary industry, I also feel the time is right for a changing of the guard,” King said. “I have had a fantastic innings with the MCEC and feel optimistic about its future.
“I do want to call out the incredible achievements we have made as a team, most recently amongst them the opening of our major expansion in 2018, a record economic contribution of $1.1 billion to the state in 2019 and incredible displays of resilience over a difficult last two years. Beyond that, over many years, we have brought together people from all over the world to be educated, exchange knowledge, be entertained and importantly – to enjoy our wonderful town of Melbourne. What a privilege it has been.
“My most prevailing memory will be the long line of great people I’ve had the honour of working with at MCEC.”
Sarah Burt is Corporate Connunications Specialist for the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.