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‘Turn Around Champ’ to Open World Travel Market 2012

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Barry Gibbons, former CEO of the US-based Burger King Corporation – and the man dubbed the ‘Turn Around Champ’ – officially opens World Travel Market 2012, the leading global event for the travel industry, on Monday 5 November at ExCel London.

His will talk about creating and maintaining business in a phenomenally tough economic climate.

“Within a year of taking over the role of CEO of Burger King, Barry was opening two new restaurants a day around the world, attracting thousands of hungry travellers on a budget, ” said Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chairman of World Travel Market.

“During five years as chief of one of the world’s leading fast food chains, he received international recognition for his outstanding business performance.”

When Gibbons took over running the US-based Burger King in 1989 as part of the Pillsbury Group by the UK company Grand Metropolitan, it was losing money with not one of its international businesses in a healthy state.

At the time, the average $1m annual profit a year compared dismally with their main rival of MacDonald’s $1.5million. Franchisees were earning poor profits and many restaurants were short staffed, dirty and badly in need of renovation.

Within four years, Gibbons made a pre-tax profit of $250m, trading positively in 55 countries.

At the time, Burger King also had no representation in the UK. He acquired the Wimpey brand and converted key outlets, giving them a solid platform for today’s thriving UK business.

In his first week in the job, he persuaded Burger King’s managers to view the business from a customer perspective – “a bad cup of coffee at the end of a meal is just as damaging as a bad advertising campaign”.

Gibbons had been the former Chairman and Managing Director of Grand Metropolitan’s $1bn operation of 2, 000 restaurants and pubs in Britain and Europe.

“Getting through some of the worst economic times in living memory is uppermost in the industry’s minds right now, particularly in UK and Europe”, said Jeffery.

“We hope that World Travel Market can help play its part in connecting travel businesses, sectors and markets for mutual, sustainable benefit.

“Barry Gibbons was a businessman at the top of his game in a highly competitive global field”, added Jeffery. “As our Guest of Honour and as an excellent speaker, he will put a different and altogether fresh, innovative perspective on business. He will demonstrate to travel companies and the industry as a whole what can be learnt from managing a global brand as well as the challenges of franchising and brand consistencies in a global market.”

Fortune Magazine first gave Barry Gibbons the title of ‘Turnaround Champ’ after his phenomenal success in boosting Burger King’s fortunes. Gibbons retired in 1994 from Burger King aged just 44, largely because he prefers to build companies, not simply maintain them. He went on to become a successful entrepreneur and author.

He has written six business books, notably ‘If You Want to Make God Really Laugh, Show Him Your Business Plan’ containing what Gibbons considers to be the 101 Universal Laws of Business.

He has also given more than 250 speeches on four continents to some of the world’s most respected and successful companies.

“Barry’s experiences, anecdotes, humour and practical tips are as relevant today as they have ever been, ” said Jeffery

“Barry believes in leading rather than managing; in the importance of energising a workforce; crucially ensuring that a brand personality runs throughout every aspect of an organisation; and developing a relationship with customers that goes beyond satisfaction.

“When a downturn hits hard, survival and future prosperity can depend on establishing or re-establishing a connection with all kinds of stakeholders. This is part of Barry Gibbons’ over riding business philosophy which we hope will help  uplift and invigorate the industry in this highly challenging era.”

World Travel Market’s Opening Ceremony is on Monday 5 November, 11.30 am, Platinum Suite 3 and 4, ExCeL London.


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About World Travel Market

World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

Almost 48, 000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

WTM, now in its 33rd year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.

WTM 2011 will generate £1, 653 million of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.

WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a portfolio of other travel industry events including Arabian Travel Market and International Luxury Travel Market.

In 2010, RE held more than 460 events in 36 countries bringing together more than seven million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, business travel and the meetings and incentives industry.

In 2011 RTE 13 events were the catalyst for £2, 807 million worth of travel and tourism business deals.

The 13 events are; World Travel Market (WTM), Arabian Travel Market (ATM), International French Travel Market (IFTM), La Cumbre, International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), International Luxury Travel Market Asia (ILTMA), Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) (owned by Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau), Global Exhibition for Incentive, Business Travel, and Meetings (EIBTM), Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM), Americas Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (AIBTM), China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (CIBTM) and Business Travel Market.

April 2013 will see RTE launch World Travel Market Latin America in São Paulo.

RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions. In 2011, six million participants attended RE’s 500 events in 39 countries covering 44 industry sectors from aerospace and aviation to beauty and cosmetics to sports and recreation.

Reed Exhibitions is owned by Reed Elsevier, the world’s leading provider of professional information and online workflow solutions.

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in 39 countries. In 2011 Reed brought together six million active event participants from around the world, generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organized by 33 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 44 industry sectors with trade and consumer events and is part of the Reed Elsevier Group plc, a world-leading publisher and information provider and a FTSE 100 company. www.reedexpo.com

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