ICM 07 - Statement from Philip King Director General of the ICM
icm07, the credit management convention, is to move from the new Wembley Stadium to the Old Billingsgate exhibition & conference centre in London, due to reasons beyond our control. The date of the event, March 14th, remains unchanged.
Despite the repeated assurances we had been given in October and again in December, we were told on Friday (19th January) that Wembley needed more time to test various integrated systems installed (fire, evacuation etc), and that they couldn't do that - and achieve their ultimate goal which is to be ready for the FA Cup Final - with us on site. They will, as we understand it, be hosting a number of stadium events between now and May, but they told us they could not host an exhibition/conference, and indeed two other events similar to ours have also been moved.
Although we were offered an alternative date later in the year, I did not think this acceptable or practical. We felt it was more important to keep the same date than keep the same venue, assuming we could find an alternative that still accommodated our needs. Given such unexpected news, there was also no guarantee that Wembley would be ready by the second date proposed.
Keeping the same date means that our Forum and Awards hosts - Peter Sissons, Nick Hancock and Simon Woodroffe OBE - are still available, and our industry speakers will not have to try and re-organise their diaries. Marketing plans for exhibitors and visitors, that have been set around 14th March, can also still be honoured. In my opinion it was the best way of keeping any inconvenience to a minimum.
We had a contingency involving another venue - the Old Billingsgate exhibition & conference centre - which I am pleased to say has been up and running for some time!. Old Billingsgate was on our original shortlist, and as a location, the venue is excellent, well sited by the River Thames and on the doorstep of London's financial district.
It was crucial in looking at contingency venues that they could still provide us with the one thing that makes icm07 unique - namely that it incorporates an exhibition, conference and awards ceremony on the same day all under one roof. We also thought that by keeping to a London location, the disruption in terms of logistics (transport, travel, accommodation etc for our exhibitors and visitors) would be kept to a minimum.
Old Billingsgate is well known as a magnificent building in its own right - full of character yet incorporating the latest state-of-the-art technologies - including WiFi (which actually Wembley doesn't yet have). This venue also has a proven track record, hosting a number of high profile events for Morgan Stanley, BT and AstraZeneca, among others.
Whilst it is a disappointment not to be at Wembley, we hope and believe that our exhibitors have bought into the concept of a credit management convention, rather than the idea of an exhibition at Wembley. We hope again that our exhibitors will work with us in making icm07 the key industry event of the year, and we will do everything possible to make that happen.