New CEO brings instrumental approach for agricultural society

SEAS 13 AS 124Former Director for Reed Business Information and more recently Commercial Director for global events company, i2i Events Ltd, 49 year old Iain Nicol, is the newly appointed CEO for the South of England Agricultural Society in Ardingly, West Sussex.

Iain was initially taken on as interim CEO earlier this Summer and quickly proved he had all the right leadership skills and instrumental approach that the Society was looking for in order to conceive and implement a strategic plan and improve short and long-term commercial success for the Society. He won the position against a strong field of candidates.

2013 has already seen various exciting changes for the Society including the re-branding for all the major shows and a new website which now allows customers to book advance discounted tickets online and gain access to the most up to date information about all the events and activities organised by the Society.

Said Iain Nicol, “I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge of prioritising all the objectives set out within the role as CEO for the Society and working with such a dedicated team of trustees, council members, volunteers and leading suppliers.  It’s these people that are so crucial to the development and long term stability of the Society and who will make our farming and countryside events even more engaging and compelling to members, visitors, exhibitors and sponsors which ultimately help fund our charitable projects.”

“We have recently enjoyed a hugely successful Autumn Show & Game Fair which saw a 16% increase in footfall,” Iain continued, “and we are now focusing our efforts on the re-launch of the Showground and Facilities at the Society’s headquarters in Ardingly, West Sussex.”

Located in over 150 acres of glorious Sussex countryside, the Ardingly Showground is one of the most flexible countryside venues for events and conferencing and Iain is keen to place it firmly on the map as the only venue of its kind in the South East.  Situated only 15 minutes from Gatwick Airport, 10 minutes from two mainline train stations and just a few minutes off the A23, accessibility is easy for regional, national & international businesses.

The Norfolk Pavilion is the centrepiece to the showground offering a choice of five light and spacious conference and banqueting suites spread out over two floors and all boasting panoramic views over its impressive rural surroundings.  A range of in-house catering options is available, as well as ample car parking space right outside, free WiFi and wheel chair access.

Said Mr Nicol, “Versatility is a key element to the showground’s facilities, whether it is a private reception or business meeting for up to 40 people, a corporate Christmas party, wedding, product launch, exhibition, large conference for 400 people or a public event for thousands, we have the ability to cater for all of them.”

As well as the Norfolk Pavilion and adjacent buildings, the Showground itself has numerous other buildings and outdoor facilities available to hire which provide large spaces ideal for equestrian and dog events, trade fairs, exhibitions, corporate team building exercises and product launches (including the space and access to bring in large plant or agricultural machinery or set up garden displays under cover) along with acres of free parking and accommodation if required.

Said Rachel Everett from International Antiques and Collectors Fairs, “We have been holding one of Europe’s leading antiques fairs at the South of England Showground for many years now and the event just keeps going from strength to strength.  The venue offers everything we need to accommodate over 1,500 undercover and outdoor stands.  The facilities are of the highest standard and all the staff are so helpful and professional that it makes organising such a huge event a real pleasure.”

Iain and the team at the Showground are looking forward to ending the 2013 show season with their annual Festive Food & Drink Fayre on 7th & 8th December and before that they will be hosting the South of England Farming Conference on 12th November where over 250 delegates will listen to the debate of ‘Who can afford food produced in Britain?’

For more information on the Showground and Facilities please visit or call the events team on 01444 892048.

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