60 seconds with... Anita Lowe, Venues and Events International

C&IT caught up with Anita Lowe to find out the reason behind her surprising exit from Bluehat Group and her plans to launch the Venues and Events division as its own independent agency.

Venues and Events International, led by Anita Lowe
Venues and Events International, led by Anita Lowe

Bluehat Group revealed yesterday (25 March) that former Capita Travel & Events director of meetings and events Anita Lowe had left the company after only three months after the Venues and Events division she had been appointed to lead would be relocating from Swindon to its London headquarters.

After finding new investors, Lowe has launched the Venues and Events division as a separate business that will continue to be based in Swindon, taking on ten staff formerly employed by Bluehat Group.

What was the reason for parting ways with Bluehat Group?

The decision [to part from Bluehat Group] was made on Friday (20 March). It was very sudden. The conversation around investment strategies had been happening over the last few weeks and we looked at various investment routes to ensure we had the opportunity to grow the division and this is where we saw differences.

There were never any plans to relocate to London when I joined Bluehat Group in January but I’m pleased that we’ve been able to retain the team here in Swindon within our new business.

This is a small industry and it is important to have strong relationships. Teambuilding is Bluehat Group’s legacy and we wish them all the best.

And now the team has a new investor…

We’re now secure with an investor – Bruce Gordon, who owns Thames Valley Capital. I’ve known Bruce for a while and we have some good relationships through the financial institutions he works with. It is important that we’ve got the right investor and we are delighted that he is on board.

What was the reaction like from your clients when they heard the news?

The reaction has been a bit of a surprise as it wasn’t our intention to do this. But it has been supportive and our clients want to continue to work with us. We have a loyal and respectful team that has experience and understanding of working with our clients and advising them in the right way.

What are your plans for Venues and Events International?

Bluehat Group brought me in because of the consultative approach I could implement in the Venues and Events division and there is no change in what we are offering now. We will be focusing on industry sectors where we have lots of experience, including retail, financial and automotive.

We currently have six or seven longstanding clients that have stemmed from previous relationships and we are receiving lots of inquiries for events with long lead times. There is a lot of business out there and the events industry is incredibly buoyant.

Growth for the agency will be about ensuring we have clients who want to work with us on a consultative basis so that we fit seamlessly in with their teams. We are currently looking for a marketing manager and I am always looking for new talent in our industry. 

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