Life is full of surprises, and my year as President has been no exception.


Andres Lopez Valderrama

By: Andrés López-Valderrama, UFI President

I didn’t expect my role to include the important process of recruiting a new Managing Director of UFI.

However, as you all know, that is what we have had to do, and I am very pleased that we have been able to carry out this exercise successfully, in line with our original timetable.

I personally asked our current Managing Director, Paul Woodward, to reconsider his decision to step down.  But once we had discussed that thoroughly and it was clear that he would not change his mind, I was keen that the process of replacing him should be undertaken in a manner that was open, transparent and professional. As each of us would in our own businesses, I wanted a process that was free from outside influence and that would generate the best possible candidate to take on the challenging task of leading UFI. I strongly believe that, in Kai Hattendorf, we have found such a candidate.

Fortunately, we probably had plenty of time for this process and were able to cast our net far and wide. As you are aware, we worked with an international executive search firm on this project, and they talked seriously to candidates from 15 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America. I believe that we are fortunate to have been able to secure the services of an executive of Kai’s calibre, and we all look forward to working with him in the years to come.

We are finalising the exact details, but our new Managing Director expects to come on board to work alongside Paul for some time before the UFI Congress in Milan and would then take over officially right after that event. In the meantime, I know that Paul and the entire UFI team will be working as hard as ever on the many tasks they have. Kai will be taking over an organisation moving at full speed.

I would like in particular to thank the UFI Executive Committee, which has the responsibility for appointing a new Managing Director, for its strong support. They tasked a Selection Committee comprising the current Trio and our newly-elected 2017 President, Andreas Gruchow, to lead the process.  A particular thank you should go to my three colleagues in that group. Thanks also to Paul for his contribution in guiding the process. Finally, a thank you from me to Wolfgang Marzin, the CEO of Messe Frankfurt, Kai’s current employers, for his very gracious support, and that of his colleagues, in supporting our choice of one of his senior management team to run our global association.This is much appreciated.

Originally published in the July/August issue of UFI Info. For the full edition, click here.

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