New Year’s Honour for the NEC Group’s CEO, Paul Thandi

30 December 2019 Ross Watson

Paul Thandi, the man behind the NEC Group, one of the World’s top venue management companies, is amongst this year’s elite roster of awardees named in 2020 New Year’s Honours List. 

The list includes damehoods and knighthoods as well as commanders (CBE), officers (OBE), and members (MBE) of the Order of the British Empire.

Paul Thandi, has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE, for his services to the economy through his successful 13 year leadership of the NEC Group.


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The industry high-flier became NEC Group CEO in 2007 and has steered the organisation from Birmingham City Council ownership, to a £307 million management buy-out backed by private equity group LDC in 2015. Three years later, by investing in the business, its teams and offer, whilst growing the turnover and profit significantly, Paul was able to realise another investor - Blackstone Private Equity Group – the world’s leading investment firm, which has enabled the growth journey and development of the Group to continue.  

Paul is also committed to creating opportunities for the next generation and has championed a thriving range of apprenticeship and development programmes whilst at the NEC Group. He is Chair of the Birmingham and Solihull Employment and Skills Board and sits on the board of the West Midlands Growth Company. Since 2013 he has had the honour of being Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands Lieutenancy, a role which involves representing the Queen in capacities including officiating over new citizenship ceremonies.

In response to the news of his award Paul Thandi said: "I feel both privileged and proud to receive this award. I'm the first to recognise that this is also a reflection of the endeavour and commitment of those around me, who have persevered with me taking on difficult challenges and grasping new opportunities. I have had the honour of helping the NEC Group businesses grow across the UK and beyond throughout my time here. We support well over 29,000 jobs in the wider regional economy and this is set to go even higher as we expand our reach in the coming years.

"Working within the live events sector has provided me with many opportunities, enabling me to meet and engage with so many inspirational people across business, education and the public sector. To be personally recognised in this way is truly fantastic but I owe so much to many others who have helped me throughout my career, and for that I am always grateful and recognise it’s now my job to do that for others.”