Events industry celebrates the life of Peter Franks

The events industry has paid tribute to the former chairman of TFI Group and 'industry pioneer' Peter Franks, after he passed away in December.

TFI Group pays tribute to Peter Franks
TFI Group pays tribute to Peter Franks

His dedication to the events industry led to many successes, including becoming chairman of TFI Group; deputy chairman of the former ITMA, which later merged with the CEA to form Eventia; and being appointed to the Conseil Consultatif International Maison de la France advisory board in 2003.

According to his colleagues, Franks was an excellent manager, leading the business through thick and thin for more than 30 years. As a founding member of ITMA UK, he was also passionate about developing the world of associations.

"I’ve known Peter for 15 years and he’s helped me enormously in that time," said Nigel Cooper, Zibrant chairman. "He had so many ideas for developing business and for running associations. He demonstrated huge commitment to the industry and was a fun individual to know. It’s a huge loss to all who knew him."

Simon Maier, director of the TFI Group, added: "Peter was a charismatic leader, a philosopher, a linguist, an excellent singer, a man who upheld strong principles, a man who knew opera of all brands inside out and one who understood popular culture, as well as the power of rhetoric, and a man of warmth who had an incisive wit as well as an all-embracing smile." 

Meanwhile, Gwénaëlle Maret-Delos, managing director, Atout France UK & Ireland, said it was with 'immense sadness' that they had learnt of the news of his passing. "Peter was a member of our advisory board for the past ten years and was a real Francophile. We greatly enjoyed having the opportunity to work with him during these meetings, and he was always on hand with sound advice, and an exceptional knowledge of the French market and way of working." She added that on a personal note, she and the team had enjoyed his company, his vision and his kindness. 

Working in the travel industry from an early age, Franks quickly caught the bug for travel and events. From a tough gig in the luggage haulage department at Gatwick Airport after leaving school, to his degree in Business and Tourism, his passion was evident from the start. 

"In 1989 Peter sold TFI to a consortium in order to concentrate on a high-level strategy and marketing consultancy, but then returned to TFI in 1994 as chairman and also as the major shareholder, determined to recreate the company as an event-related marketing services business which became the TFI Group," said Maier. "From then on he fervently believed in increased co-operation between the various members of the distribution chain within event management and in bringing a more marketing-led approach to our industry."

Members of the events industry also left messages of condolence. Randle Stonier, founder and CEO of AddingValue, described him as a vibrant character, who brought enthusiasm and energy to the industry. "Thank you for providing a big splash of colour in our space. My thoughts and sympathies go out to Peter's family and all at TFI. A little twinkle may have gone out, but there's one more upstairs shining down."

Yasmin Arrigo, editor-in-chief of C&IT, said: "Peter was a brilliant support to all in the industry and his passion for developing a route map for this sector, to drive business globally, was admirable. He will be missed for his sheer intelligence and of course, his quirky sense of humour"

Franks always had an impact on the people he met on trips, with Vicki Laurie, a venue-sourcing specialist at Touch Associates, sending her condolences to his family and colleagues. "I was fortunate enough to share several fam trips, hosted buyer groups and dinners with Peter and there was never a dull moment with him around. An industry stalwart, he will be greatly missed."

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