Two of PLASA’s longest-serving and most-respected personnel, COO and executive director Ruth Rossington and events director Nicola Rowland, are exiting the trade group helmed by Matthew Griffiths (pictured here with executive director Lori Rubinstein), writes David Davies.
While Rowland departed at the beginning of August, Rossington will leave at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the organisation is continuing to accommodate the changes heralded by its 1 January merger with US trade group ESTA – a process that is likely to take three years to complete.
In one capacity or another, Rossington has been closely associated with PLASA for more than 20 years. Joining the organisation in 1988 as assistant editor on LSi magazine, she went on to become that publication’s editor in June 1997. In early 2004, she left LSi to become a director of PLASA, working alongside the events, media, membership, skills and technical team. Most recently, she collaborated with ESTA’s Lori Rubinstein as the two organisations sought to integrate their operations.
Describing Rossington as a “superwoman”, PLASA CEO Matthew Griffiths makes it clear that her departure to pursue a two-year qualification in tourism and to work as a writer/journalist is a “bittersweet” experience for the organisation. “On the one hand, I can’t help but wish her the very best,” Griffiths tells PSN-e. “On the other, we are losing a great, great person who has made a massive contribution to the organisation over a long period of time.”
While the departures of Rossington and Rowland are unrelated to the current changes within the organisation, they undoubtedly have implications for the ongoing restructure. PLASA is actively recruiting for a head of membership to take on some of Rossington’s responsibilities, with other duties to be distributed elsewhere within the merged organisation. A replacement for Rowland – who, says Griffiths, has made a “huge contribution” to the ongoing development of the PLASA Show as well as the Focus regional events and the organisation’s rigging conference – is likely to be sought after this year’s gathering at Earls Court.
Speaking of which, Griffiths says that the organisation is just about to reconfirm at the site for 2012. Beyond that, with redevelopment plans looming that could bring about the demise of the Earls Court site, Griffiths cites a roll-call of possible alternatives headed by London ExCeL. “But wherever we go, we will absolutely keep the core values of the event and not get sidetracked,” he says.
The redevelopment plans virtually dictated a wait-and-see attitude, and it’s one that Griffiths is also adopting with regard to the forthcoming liveculture expo technology event, set to debut at Wembley Stadium from 29 April to 1 May.
“I would hate to comment on something I haven’t seen yet; we have to see what it does and what takes place,” he says. “But there is a lot of support for the PLASA Show – it’s run by an industry trade body, for the industry, and there are lots of reasons why people want to be here. It remains a great platform for people conducting and developing business, and we continue to add new elements as the industry develops.”
Image Credit: Chris Toulmin