page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84

14 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 67Big InterviewEvans adds there was a lot of unbilled time being spent on clients and a culture of 'if in doubt, put more people in the trenches'. Were there perhaps too many generals in Evans' parish?"Yes," he agrees, explaining he shut the executive wing at Marlow. All men are equal at the Grass Roots after all.Va-va voomAsked his greatest achievement, Evans turns to the automotive sector."When we were young, we pitched for the launch of the Ford Sierra. We lost by half a point, but recommended the UK campaign be done at Castle Ashby." The Ford model in question did not sell too well and Evans insists his campaign would have "made the car a hero".He got his chance to rev up his ideas two years later, when he was asked to do a VW launch. "We made a big splash at branch level," he explains. "The results came in an uplift of sales in the car within six months."Evans is proud of his green credentials and, indeed, was awarded an MBE by the British Government for social responsibility. He knocked back one client choice for a car launch event because the location which would have resulted in five million travelling miles for delegates. "Not appropriate," was Evans' verdict. His agency is very much still on the autobahn, running the European launch of Opel's electric car last year and a Ford Focus launch in France. "In Bordeaux we needed to teach the dealers to sell features the French weren't used to."As distinct from some competitors' approaches for attacking foreign markets by employing native speakers in the UK offices, the Grass Roots preferred modus operandi is to employ foreign nationals out in the field. The company recently spread its wings Stateside and in Singapore."Let the locals get on with it is my approach," says Evans. He certainly got on with it after he bought out Maritz in the UK in 2006. There were aspects of that business crying out for change; but then change has always been the name of Evans' game. "You have to be willing to see when change needs to occur," he says. "That's the visionary in me." He seems to like the description of himself as being 'constructively discontented'.Forward chargeGoing into spring 2012, Evans is confident that the first loss in 25 years made in the financial year 2010, would not be repeated and predicted profits when the 2011 accounts come in. With a new office in Putney and an expanding venue procurement team led by Des McLaughlin ("the best operator in the space" - Evans), and a team in Fleet "being mothered incredibly by Giselle Ripken," Evans' faith is being restored.The future is all about IT, he believes, and he has equipped the Fleet business which he acquired from the administrators (the old 'MICE' agency) with new software."We have software guys all over the planet (Florida, Brazil, Ireland, Bangalore, and 120 in Tring alone)," says Evans.Meetings management software specialist StarCite changed hands in a deal valued at over $51m recently. Did Evans perhaps not regret buying the company when he had the chance?"I described the product then to Steve Maritz as 'the fox in his hen coop'. However, as far as the technology goes, we have capacity to produce stuff quicker.""The fact that StarCite needs to be sold so hard, says a lot. I'm not sure if there's a real number in there," he adds.The current Grass Roots client portfolio is spread between banking companies, telecoms, major retailers and government, a structure, Evans believes, that offers good protection for his people. Evans is also focused on the prospects offered by the new markets, in particular China and India, where he has offices. He explains his global philosophy thus: "Like the old British empire, I send a Jesuit out then either buy something and build upon it, or build something and buy for it". In the future Evans sees Grass Roots Group having a 50/50 Overseas/UK split. At the moment the business is 75 per cent UK centred.The Grass Roots can always be greener; certainly if his eight-year-old daughter and her inspiration for his Port Talbot factory has anything to do with it.Main image: grass roots' opel event with Katie Melua. inset images, above: scenes from various incentives setsGrass Roots global business turnover$479m

Uluru is such a breathtaking destination. I was proud to be able to offer our most valuable team members this once in a lifetime experience. Our group went from one inspiring experience to another. From guided walks at sunrise and learning more about Aboriginal culture by creating our own dot paintings, to dining under the stars - this was an event none of us will forget. And memories weren't the only things our team brought home with them. Their new found motivation, ideas and energy lasted long after our return.Cathy, Managing Director. Visit businessevents.australia.com for everything you need to plan your Australian event.There's nothing like doing business with an icon