Emerald Expositions Searches for a New CEO

Emerald Expositions continues to look for a replacement for its longtime president and chief executive officer, David Loechner.

Loechner, who announced on Nov. 1 he was resigning from the trade-show company, based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., had been with the organization or its predecessors for some 35 years.

Philip Evans, Emerald’s chief financial officer, was appointed interim president and chief executive of the organization that produces some 55 trade shows, which include Surf Expo, Outdoor Retailer, the Imprinted Sportswear Show, Swim Collective and Active Collective.

Loechner will work with the company until the end of the year.

The executive shift comes at a time of change for the trade-show business. On Nov. 19, Agenda, owned by Emerald’s competitor Reed Exhibitions, announced it was postponing the January dates for its flagship show in Long Beach, Calif. For its summer 2019 Long Beach show, Agenda’s format is scheduled to transition from a familiar business-to-business show to a consumer event.

Market analyst Jeff Harbaugh of Jeff Harbaugh & Associates wrote in a Nov. 29 note that Emerald is a “profitable company with a pretty solid balance sheet and good cash-flow model.”

But he noted the trade-show business is in transition and Emerald must find its way in this changing market. Emerald, in its quarterly financial report, said it hopes to fuel new growth by acquiring more shows. It also plans on building the company through what it called “organic growth,” or bringing in new business to its shows.

“What, then, for Emerald, is the new model for trade shows that permits this organic growth, and what is the evolving role of trade shows? We’re all trying to figure that out,” Harbaugh wrote.

On Nov. 1, Emerald announced its financial results for the fiscal third quarter ending Sept. 30. Revenues increased 2.7 percent to $103.1 million compared with $100.4 million the previous third quarter. The company’s net income for the recent third quarter was $20.9 million, up 8.9 percent over last year’s third quarter.