We create unforgettable live experiences

Meet the Team

Our leadership team gives strategic direction to the business, living the NEC Group values which drive the business culture, and with a focus on delivering unforgettable live experiences.

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Melanie Smith

Chief Executive

Melanie Smith

Chief Executive

Melanie Smith CBE is the CEO of the NEC Group and joined the Group in September 2023.

With a wealth of leadership experience, previous roles have included CEO of Ocado.com, Strategy and Services Director for Marks & Spencer, Global Marketing and Strategy Director at Bupa, Chief Operating Officer at TalkTalk and Partner at McKinsey.

She is also the Deputy Chair of Sadler’s Wells and the Remuneration Committee Chair of SSE and is the founder of the Mokaraka Trust - an education charity that funds Māori women who are pursuing university studies in business.

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Paul Reeve

Chief Financial Officer

Paul Reeve

Chief Financial Officer

Paul joined the NEC Group as CFO in October 2023, bringing with him significant experience of the UK and European entertainment and media sectors.

Prior to joining NEC Group, Paul spent 10 years at AEG, where he was European CFO responsible for their venue, ticketing, touring and festival businesses across the region. He has also held a range of senior finance roles in advertising and media at WPP plc and Dentsu. Paul qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC.

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Guy Dunstan

Managing Director

Arenas

Guy Dunstan

Managing Director

Arenas

As Managing Director of Arenas, Guy leads two of the UK’s leading live entertainment venues, Resorts World Arena and Utilita Arena Birmingham.

His operational and commercial experience in venue management has seen him work at the NEC Group for over 20 years, starting as an Assistant Event Manager and working his way up to General Manager – a position he held for 11 years before being promoted to Director in November 2018, and then Managing Director in March 2020.

He has on the National Arenas Association for 12 years, having chaired it between 2013-2015.

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Ian Taylor

Managing Director

Exhibitions

Ian Taylor

Managing Director

Exhibitions

With over 20 years of experience, Ian has a wealth of knowledge in the events industry and leads the UK’s leading exhibition venue, the NEC.

He joined the NEC Group in 2014 as NEC Venue Sales Director and oversaw the commercial transformation of the exhibition business. By 2020, Ian had become Managing Director for Conventions and Exhibitions.

Prior to this he was Commercial Director for Marketing Birmingham (now West Midlands Growth Company) and Newcastle Gateshead, driving the cities’ visitor economies, and Head of Conference and Events at Emap.

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Kate Corbin

Chief Commercial Officer

Kate Corbin

Chief Commercial Officer

Kate joined the Group in January 2024 to maximise commercial opportunities across its portfolio.

She has worked in retail for the past 15 years and has extensive experience across customer, data, digital and technology led transformations. Most recently, she was the Group Strategy and Transformation Director for Marks & Spencer with previous positions as Strategy Director at Halfords and Head of Strategy at Sainsbury’s.

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Paul Errington

Group General Counsel

Paul Errington

Group General Counsel

Paul joined the NEC Group in 2013. He is a commercial solicitor who has worked in and led in-house legal teams for the past 15 years and has significant experience across live events, sponsorship, and procurement. In addition to his role as General Counsel, Paul is the Group’s Company Secretary and also has responsibility for the Group’s Insurance portfolio.

Before joining the Group, Paul spent four years at Home Retail Group as Legal Counsel advising UK and Hong Kong based procurement teams for Argos, Homebase, and Habitat, and prior to that he was a solicitor in the corporate/commercial team at The Wilkes Partnership.

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Vanessa Di Cuffa

Chief People Officer

Vanessa Di Cuffa

Chief People Officer

Vanessa joined the NEC Group in January 2024. She has extensive experience in driving business change in the FMCG industry, with previous roles as the UK HR Director at 2 Sisters Food Group and People Change Director at ABP.

Most recently, she founded her own business ‘Cultureology’. Aligning business culture to unlock engagement and productivity, she supports businesses to implement large people change programs.

Vanessa is also a qualified solicitor and was Head of Employment at Freeths, Birmingham and Partner at Shakespeares.

She sits as a board trustee for Unseen UK and Non-Executive Director of Impactt.