Natalie O’Brien has been named as the new chief executive of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
O’Brien will join the business in January 2023 and 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 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.
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.
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As CEO of MCEC, she 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.
She replaces outgoing chief executive Peter King who finishes with the business at the end of the year after 11 years at MCEC.
O’Brien joins MCEC the venue recovers from the impact of Covid-19 and builds for the future. The centre has reopened to a strong demand for business in 2022.
Minister for Tourism, Sport & Major Events, Steve Dimopoulos, said: “Recognised for her contributions to Victoria’s tourism and major events sector, Natalie brings exceptional leadership and experience to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, ensuring the organisation continues to draw the events and exhibitions that support businesses and create jobs.”
“I thank Peter for his hard work and service across 11 years at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, under his leadership the venue has played an essential role in drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to Victoria.”