Managing director of the IMEX Group, Paul Flackett, has passed away following a long battle with serious illness.

A long-time friend, collaborator and business partner of IMEX chairman, Ray Bloom, Flackett was considered a valued mentor to industry colleagues, having spent more than 30 years in the global meetings and events industry.

Flackett and Bloom joined forces to launch IMEX in Frankfurt in 2003 and in 2011 Flackett assisted in the launch of IMEX America in Las Vegas. Flackett is credited with developing both IMEX events into two of the leading global trade shows for the business events industry.

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During his career, Flackett was actively engaged with many industry associations. He served as president of SITE International in 1995 and as SITE Foundation president in 2002. He is a previous chancellor for MPI and has served as vice chairman of the Destinations International European Advisory Council. He has also undertaken various roles for ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association).

In 2004 he was presented with the Moises Shuster Award during the ICCA Congress for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

Following news of Flackett's death on Monday (November 13), Ray Bloom commented: “Today is a day for deep sadness as well as fond reflection. Paul has been by my side as a friend and in business for over 30 years and was an inspiration to us all in how he conducted himself throughout his career, in particular the humour he brought to us all.

"He was a friend and mentor to so many in the industry and I know that he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."