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Management change at the top of Messe Stuttgart

Author: Editorial Office

Management change at the top of Messe Stuttgart

04.02.2020. Since 1 February, Roland Bleinroth (photo right) and Stefan Lohnert have been the new management duo of Messe Stuttgart. Roland Bleinroth has been President of Messe Stuttgart since 2006. After the departure of Ulrich Kromer, who retired after 19 years as President on 31 January 2020, Bleinroth takes over his position as CEO. Stefan Lohnert also joined the company in 2006, and most recently was Division Director Guest Events and ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart.

“For 2020 we anticipate a new record turnover of around € 185 million and we are well booked up accordingly,” says Bleinroth. “This does not mean that our trade fair business is self-sustaining. The daily challenge in the trade fair business is also to a certain extent to reinvent each successful trade fair in order to ensure continued success.” His colleague Lohnert adds: “For this purpose, it is important to observe the events very closely and to maintain the dialogue with exhibitors, associations and politicians. The classic trade fair must continue to develop. Our customers want to have new experiences, and their expectation is that we optimise the communication offers between suppliers and demanders.” One mega-topic in this context is digitalisation. “With digital planning tools, we are raising the trade fair to the third dimension,” explains Bleinroth.

Business divisions reassigned

The new management duo has big plans: Further internationalisation is on the agenda, as are the construction on the trade fair site of logistics facilities for the service providers, the creation of new parking facilities on the campus, and an additional hall with a congress area. There is also talk of widening the most important access road. Another focus of management is the topic of sustainability. “We are on the way to becoming the first climate-neutral trade fair location in Germany,” says Lohnert.

There are many tasks that the presidents have divided up as follows: Since the beginning of the month, Roland Bleinroth has been responsible for the entire company and individual business divisions, including the two trade fair areas of Lifestyle & Leisure and Industry & Technology. With Messe Stuttgart International, his responsibility for the foreign business of Messe Stuttgart continues. In addition, the Business Development, Corporate Communications, Marketing Communications, Finance and Messe Stuttgart Digital divisions are assigned to him.

With the business division Messe Stuttgart International (MSI), Bleinroth had already successfully pushed forward the internationalisation strategy of Messe Stuttgart in the past, too. 26 % of over 22,000 exhibitors and almost 10 % of the nearly 1.2 million visitors who visited Messe Stuttgart in 2019 came from abroad. The entire region benefits through the so-called “indirect profitability”, primarily the hotel sector, the hospitality industry and retail trade. Cultural and leisure offers are also gladly taken up during business trips.

And further activities abroad have already been initiated for the future. In 2020, Messe Stuttgart, together with EUROEXPO, the leading organiser of intralogistics trade fairs, will put on LogiMAT China and also the new event LogiMAT Thailand. For exhibitors and visitors of trade fairs in Stuttgart, China is becoming increasingly important. For this reason, Messe Stuttgart is expanding its activity in China. Innovation Fair and Education+, which both proved popular in 2019, are being further developed. The Chinese subsidiary of Messe Stuttgart will be a co-organiser and has a share in the new high-tech trade fair AMTECH (Advanced Manufacturing Technology). Furthermore, from 2022 Messe Stuttgart will for the first time be active as a trade fair organiser in Spain, organising “APA Expo by R+T” at three-year intervals in Barcelona.
Stefan Lohnert is still responsible for Guest Events/ICS, and now also for the Business & Education division. Furthermore, the Protocol Department, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Stuttgart Trade Fair Services & Sales, Event Operation, Construction and Facility Management, as well as Human Resources, are assigned to him.

In his previous function as Division Director Guest Events and ICS, Lohnert was responsible for guest trade fairs, internationally renowned congresses, corporate events and other events. Together with his team, he generated between 30 and 40 % of Messe Stuttgart’s turnover, depending on the year. The main focus of these events is on the areas of health, medicine, pharmaceuticals, IT, finance, insurance, law, industry, science and research. Last year, event organisers booked rooms in the ICS a total of 150 times. Thanks to the location of Baden-Württemberg, Europe’s prosperous high-tech region, many guest events for these sectors rented space. These include, for example, Automotive Testing Expo, Motek, Control, Blechexpo and Composites Europe. Their most recent successful acquisition is Opti, a trade fair for opticians that from January 2021 will move from Munich to Stuttgart in each odd-numbered year.

In particular the topic of sustainability is close to Lohnert’s heart. In 2008, he initiated the “Green Statement”, the sustainability report of Messe Stuttgart, and he was also involved in the development of sustainability concepts for guest organisers. This new management duo thus brings experience in the trade fair business and new ideas for the future of Messe Stuttgart.


(Source: Landesmesse Stuttgart)