MCEC chief Peter King signals departure

Peter King, chief executive of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), has signalled his departure after eleven years.

King 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.

He will remain with MCEC as it manages this business transition and is committed to ensuring its success as it emerges from the acute stage of the pandemic.

This time will allow for the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust (MCET) to recruit his replacement.

“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 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 bought 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.”

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, this increased event space by 25 per cent 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 King 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 King 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.

“Peter has been instrumental in building Victoria’s global profile through conferences and business events over many years,” Martin Pakula, state Minister for Tourism, Sport, and Major Events said.

“I thank Peter for his work as Chief Executive – his dedication has been crucial to the state’s success in this sector.”