By Andrew White
Organiser blames 'copycat events' for restructuring; next forum to take place 2011.
The organiser of one of the Gulf’s biggest annual conferences, Leaders in Dubai, has confirmed the event will not take place this year.
IIR Middle East told Arabian Business that its flagship conference had been restructured and would now be a biennial event, the next forum taking place in October 2011.
Previous speakers at Leaders in Dubai have included Al Gore, Desmond Tutu, Colin Powell, Jack Welch and Kofi Annan.
“It takes a lot of resources to put on an event of that scale, and so this year we felt it was better to go biennially,” Alan Kelly, divisional director and head of business development at IIR ME, told Arabian Business.
“Leaders in Dubai made money, and when we first brought it to the market it was a huge innovation. But since then we have had so many copycat events spring up, with similar speakers - there were cowboys popping up all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”
Kelly said that the final decision was taken “six or seven weeks ago”, but denied that the decision to restructure the conference schedule was made in view of Dubai’s economic difficulties.
“Leaders in Dubai has been very successful for us, even in difficult times in 2008 and 2009,” he said. “If you look at the conditions in those years, the market was really bad then, but now it is doing better.
“We are doing a lot more in other markets in the Gulf and North Africa, and we decided we wanted to run similar events [to Leaders in Dubai] in these markets, although perhaps not on the same scale,” he continued.
“We can make more money running one day events in Saudi, Cairo or even Dubai, all of those events together, than with Leaders in Dubai.”
IIR said that every alternate year, a conference with the same format as ‘Leaders in Dubai’ would be held in a different city in the MENA region. The first such conference will be held in 2012, Kelly said, without giving further details.
It is reflective of intense competition of events that keep mulitipl;y in an unregualted market and unfortunatelky, IIR has become a vicim of the me-too marketing methods.
Seems like ArabianBusiness.com have gotten this wrong! Holding the event bi-annually does not make any sense in this context. If it take a lot of resources to hold an event at this scale, how would you hold it twice every year as a "bi-annual". I am sure Alan said "biennial", which means held every second year. Get it right, Mr. White
With all due respect to the English language, and with kudos to Mr. White for a well-written article, events which take place every two years are indeed "bi-annual". Or biennial, depending upon the English word that you prefer to use. I once worked for such a "school-teacher" type boss, who would change this terminology in correspondence to "every two years" or to "every 24 months", depending upon his mood-of-the-day. Commonly accepted business frequency of meeting events is daily, weekly, bi-weekly (twice monthly), monthly, quarterly (4 times per year), semi-annual (twice yearly), annually and bi-annually (or "biennial"). Oh yeah, add triennial to your list if you want to wait three years for your next meeting... or 36 months.