In Conversation With Rodolphe Lameyse CEO, Vinexposium

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ES. Having expertise in the organisation of international professional events, please tell us about your professional journey, major milestones achieved and challenges faced so far in your exciting career.
Rodolphe. I have joined the exhibition business with Reed Midem in 2009. At that time, I was in charge of the Iinformation System of the company and I quickly flet in love with the industry. I really was excited by the thrill of the build-up of the shows, the excitement and solidarity in the team.. And of course, the good witch that comes overnight to ensure the show can open!! In 2011, I became the marketing and client service director of Reed Midem and left the company to live an adventure in South East Asia for 6 years. I worked for FIAC, Paris Photo, Piscine Asia, Vinexpo (already!), Maison 1 objet, JEC Asia until I joined UBM to lead Food and Hotel Asia. That was a massive international show with 120,000sqm, 2 venues in the city, very international clients and a fantastic line up of competition. I really enjoy my time there.

In 2019 I was approach by head hunter to lead Vinexpo and my heart couldn’t refuse it. The challenge associated with the company, its brand, its industry and the city of Bordeaux where I studied as a young man was compelling to say yes!In 2019 I was approach by head hunter to lead Vinexpo and my heart couldn’t refuse it. The challenge associated with the company, its brand, its industry and the city of Bordeaux where I studied as a young man was compelling to say yes!

In 2020, despite the pandemic, we were able to create Vinexposium, a joint venture of Vinexpo and Comexposium wine assets, with the aime to become the preferred platform of the wine and spirit professional across the world to share, network, learn, promote in a magic environment with a business mindset.

ES. Tell us a bit more about your journey into the world of exhibitions in Asia and your insightful experiences gathered there, which were unique to the Asian market.

Rodolphe. While I was in Asia in Singapore for 6 years. I had shows in Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Bangkok. Colleagues in South east Asia but also in China. That was a fantastic human experience because, even it seems obvious you still have to live it, we come from different culture, different ways of doing business. I also realize the advantage of Europe with one single currency, custom systems compared to Asia with a multitude of currencies etc. But in the end, what I was amazed of and still enjoy is the quality of the venues in Asia, the willingness to develop, ensure the success of shows and there, the travel capabilities. I am always amazed by the yes possible attitude in Asia, and the swiftness of decision. Once everyone is convinced, it’s a go ahead.

ES. Vinexposium merged Vinexpo (the international brand of wine and spirits events) and the wine portfolio of Comexposium (the world’s 3rd largest events organiser) in 2020, thereby becoming the world’s leading wine and spirits events organiser. Please share more details on the story of this merger and the vision ahead.
Rodolphe. Thediscussion to operate this JV happened in 2019. It took a bit of time to make it concret and solid but the willingness to give birth to a world contender in the wine and spirit trade faire was strong. The vision was to be a leader not in having one mega big fair somewhere but to respond to the following expectation: be a pioneer, deliver strong business capabilities everywhere, be the source of inspiration for Wine and Spirit stakeholders, deliver high value business content and inspirational business athmosphre wherever the brand is. I think that this is what motivate the team here and why we have solid and loyal clients. We are a follow the sun business catalyst in the wine and spirit.

ES. Now that you’ve taken the helm at Vinexpo group, what are your top priorities?
Rodolphe. The priority are quite clear at the moment : put our business back on track with face to face event happening, ensure that we take measures and initiatvies after the pandemic and maintain our plans of the digital.

ES. Now that you’ve taken the helm at Vinexpo group, what are your top priorities?
Rodolphe. The priority are quite clear at the moment : put our business back on track with face to face event happening, ensure that we take measures and initiatvies after the pandemic and maintain our plans of the digital.

ES. What are your hopes and strategies for the Wine business in India in 2021? What is unique about the Indian wine market that made you foray here?
Rodolphe. I believe that the wine product is getting more and more interest in the population and in the younger population too. It is a product which requires curiosity, interest and a continuous appetite to learn and explore. It is a continuous journey and we see many many new wine coming on the market. Including Indian wines. And I think this is what our consumers, clients want : discover every new wines. This is why we are convinced India is the next big thing in the world of wine. That fantastic to be a witness of this.

ES. How many companies would be taking part in the debut of Vinexpo and what will be it’s key highlights?
Rodolphe. We do expect approximately 50 wine producers with a fair mix between Indian and international. Focus will be on the discovery, education, connection and of course, business!

ES. Asia is increasingly being more “pro-wine”. Which countries are leading this demand ?
Rodolphe. China is, as expected the number 1 in consumption. Australia is a great country in wine production and its ability to export worldwide.

ES. What would your number one piece of advice you’d pass on to the industry people for year 2021?
Rodolphe. For 2021, be patient!!!! And courageous enough to look through each show you have in your portfolio and see what element of value has changed. Is digital the must have? It size of the show the most important, have the ROI changed? Be clinical in your evaluation of your performance, your show performance and be close than never with your industry!!!