Celebrating 40 Years of Collaboration

Join us in commemorating the remarkable journey of the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES) as we proudly mark our 40th anniversary. For four decades, IFES has been dedicated to fostering collaboration and trust among professionals in the exhibition and event industry worldwide. Founded in 1984 and officially registered in 1985, IFES has successfully evolved from its initial focus on uniting exhibit supplier associations, to today’s thriving collaborative powerhouse of over 300 member companies and associations spanning the international landscape.

The year-long celebrations kicked off in June 2024 at the IFES 2024 World Summit, Málaga and will encompass events like the 2024 MasterClass – Athens, continuing into 2025 with Best of Events International in January, a MasterClass in the US, a joint IFES/IAPCO education workshop at IMEX and an IFES/fwd. study Trip to the World Expo Osaka 2025 in May, culminating at the IFES World Summit in June 2025 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Commitment Citizenship • Respect • Fair playReliability • Safety@work • Environmental ProtectionHarmony • Sharing Knowledge •
CommitmentCitizenshipRespect Fair play • Reliability • Safety@workEnvironmental Protection • Harmony • Sharing Knowledge
Commitment • Citizenship • RespectFair playReliability Safety@work Environmental ProtectionHarmonySharing Knowledge
CommitmentCitizenship • Respect • Fair play • Reliability • Safety@workEnvironmental ProtectionHarmonySharing Knowledge
Harmony • Citizenship • RespectFair play • Sharing Knowledge • ReliabilitySafety@workCommitment Environmental Protection
Commitment Citizenship • Respect • Fair playReliability Safety@workEnvironmental ProtectionHarmony • Sharing Knowledge •

From Association-Centric Roots to a Global Network

Throughout our history, IFES has been guided by visionary leaders who have shaped our organisation’s trajectory and success. From our founding president, Roger Taurant, to our current leader, Philippe Beille, each president has played a crucial role in advancing IFES’s mission of collaboration and knowledge exchange.


Roger Taurant (1985-1987) laid the groundwork for IFES’s formation, uniting six country exhibit supplier Associations – France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Great Britain – and establishing the Federation. Under his leadership, IFES became a platform for international collaboration.

Rainer Winnen (1988-1994) oversaw significant growth and structural development within the Federation, expanding IFES into new territories and laying the foundation for its future expansion.


Koen Bogaert (1995-1996) and Paul van der Meer (1997-1998) worked closely together to foster a spirit of unity and purpose during a period of rapid change, contributing to IFES’s unique identity as a global network of exhibit professionals. This spirit has endured as one of IFES most unique differentiators until today. Their diplomatic leadership styles were a powerful unifier at a time when every country viewed things differently.

Paulo Plotini (1999-2000) focused on membership growth, consolidating IFES’s unique selling points and strengthening its role in the industry.

Leslie Zech (2001-2002) saw several new countries including Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Greece, and Czech Republic join IFES under his influential leadership. He also organized the World Summit AGM meeting in Vienna 2015, starting a trend to professionalise the organization’s agenda.

Holger Nicolaysen (2003-2004) focused on creating a more user-friendly culture within IFES, travelling extensively to garner support for membership growth.


Larry Kulchawik (2005-2006), the first IFES president from the USA, emphasised membership expansion and global outreach, positioning IFES as more than just a European Federation.

Jose Maria Perez de Olacoechea (2007-2008) introduced the concept of including independent exhibit companies as IFES members towards broadening the organization’s scope and reach. He was integral to the revision of by-laws to facilitate this change.


Moreno Zacharelli (2009-2010) oversaw a period of active expansion, welcoming individual companies alongside association members and diversifying IFES’s network globally. The change brought in new country members who did not have an association within their countries, especially in Asia, Latin America, and Middle East. The network of trusted partners worldwide became a powerful added service for the exhibitors that the IFES members are representing globally.

Bruno Meissner’s (2011-2014) tenure consistently focused on growth and professionalism, implementing initiatives like the IFES Code of Conduct and a vetting process to elevate the organisation’s profile. The introduction of a full-time Management Team under the leadership of Uta Goretzky installed a stable infrastructure.


Voicu Sferdianu’s (2015-2018) steady leadership brought stability and growth to IFES, as he  worked closely with the management team to support the organisation’s evolving needs.

Peter Theodorides (2019-2020) led IFES through modernisation and expansion, leveraging effective marketing and partnerships to establish IFES as a leader in the industry.

Justin Hawes’ (2021-2022) financial acumen and understanding of evolving industry dynamics guided IFES through challenges such as the pandemic-enforced global shutdowns, emphasising representation beyond Europe and the US.


As IFES celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a moment to acknowledge our many achievements. IFES has facilitated countless connections between industry leaders, fostered the exchange of knowledge and best practices and played a vital role in advancing the exhibition and event industry on a global scale.

Current President: Philippe Beille (2022-present) continues to uphold IFES’s commitment to collaboration and knowledge exchange, focusing on critical issues like sustainability, youth empowerment, and education. Under his leadership, IFES is poised for continued success in its mission.

However, our work continues. Looking ahead, IFES remains committed to its core values underpinned by a shared code of conduct which ensures ethical, respectful and reliable behaviour between members.

Presidents’ Messages

Our IFES Presidents (Past and Present) provided a celebratory message for our members. Thank you all for your wisdom and leadership!

Philippe Beille
Justin Hawes
Peter Theodorides
Voicu Sferdianu
Koen Bogaert
Moreno Zacharelli
Larry Kulchawik
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