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Paul Thandi CBE, DL, is the charismatic and ambitious Chairman and former CEO of the NEC Group, one of the world’s top venue management companies.

As CEO from 2006-2023, Paul successfully steered the NEC from public sector ownership to a £307 million management buyout in 2015. Just three years later, having significantly increased the NEC’s profit and turnover, Paul oversaw the acquisition of the Group by private equity company, Blackstone, for £800 million.

Under Paul’s leadership the NEC Group has been transformed into a customer-focused, data-led business and the Group’s brands and reputation have been re-defined. Part of Paul’s strategy was launching and developing a range of support services such as The Ticket Factory; hospitality brand, Amplify; and award-winning caterer, Amadeus.

In September 2023, Paul became Chair of the NEC Group.

In addition to his role at the NEC, Paul is an investor, mentor, and sought-after Non-Executive Director and sits on the boards of Metro Bank, the West Midlands Growth Company, is Chair of private equity backed BOXPARK and Student Energy Group, and an advisory board member at Inspired Minds. He also runs a small family office focusing on investments in the property, biotech, entertainment, media, tech, and medical sectors.

Paul is passionate about creating opportunities for young people, championing a range of development programmes and apprenticeships at the NEC. He also finds time to act as a mentor to two CEOs in the digital & media industry.

A committed philanthropist, Paul is a patron of Marie Curie, the UK’s foremost end-of-life charity, and sits on the Advisory Board of Bowel Cancer UK. He is a patron of Best Beginnings, a charity that helps parents give children the best possible start in life. 

In 2013 Paul was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands Lieutenancy, representing HM The King in the region. He was awarded a CBE for services to the economy in 2020.

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