Ricard Zapatero, International Business Director of Fira de Barcelona, elected EMECA President 2021-2022

Posted on Wednesday 4th November 2020


Ricard Zapatero, International Business Director of Fira de Barcelona, has been elected as EMECA President for the upcoming period 2021-2022.


Maurits van der Sluis, COO of RAI Amsterdam and current EMECA President, will take up the role of Vice President Strategy for the next term. Additionally, according to the election cycle, two more positions were to be filled: Roland Bleinroth, CEO of Messe Stuttgart, has been confirmed for another term as Vice President Digital Business and Claude Membrez, Director General of Palexpo Geneva, will act as interim Vice President for Technical Affairs.

Maurits van der Sluis, current President of EMECA, welcomes the decision of the General Assembly and confirms: “EMECA has and will have a strong and determined leading team. Exhibition centres and organisers are in a very difficult situation due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions. We will strive for bringing back marketing platforms and face-to-face encounters to our clients.”

“The next year will be decisive for exhibitions centres”, adds Ricard Zapatero. “I am convinced that industries need their sectorial platforms so that economic recovery and the transition to more sustainable and digital future can be mastered. Our sector is hit especially hard and for a very long time by the Covid-19 restrictions including on-off lockdowns and unprecedented travel restrictions for our clients. We are convinced of our business model while we massively invest into offering alternative and complementary services to the respective sectorial communities. However, as the situation persists, we call for rapid testing to allow safe exhibitions and business events.”


The currently 24 EMECA venues host and organise nearly 2.000 trade fairs a year globally, out of which 1.550 in Europe on a gross rented space of nearly 38 mio sqm. They welcome nearly 500.000 exhibitors and roughly 38,5 mio visitors in Europe.

The EMECA Board 2020

Maurits van der Sluis, EMECA President (RAI Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Herbert Marner, Vice President Treasurer (Koelnmesse, Germany)

Anne-Marie Baezner, Vice President Communication (Eurexpo Lyon, France)

Elzbieta Roeske, Vice President EU Relations (Grupa MTP Poznan, Poland)

Ricard Zapatero, Vice President Technical Affairs (Fira de Barcelona, Spain)

Roland Bleinroth, Vice President Digital Business (Messe Stuttgart, Germany)

Claude Membrez, Interim Vice President Strategy (Palexpo Geneva, Switzerland)

Barbara Weizsäcker, EMECA Secretary General

The EMECA Members 2020

Brussels Expo

KoelnMesse, Deutsche Messe (Hanover), Messe Frankfurt, NürnbergMesse, Messe Stuttgart

EUREXPO – Centre de Conventions et d’Expositions de Lyon, VIPARIS, Paris

BolognaFiere, Fiera Milano, Italian Exhibition Group (Rimini, Vicenza), Veronafiere

The Netherlands:
RAI Amsterdam, Royal Dutch Jaarbeurs Utrecht

MTP Grupa, Poznan

Feira Internacional de Lisboa

Expocentre Moscow

MCH Group (Basel, Zurich, Lausanne), Palexpo Geneva

Fira de Barcelona, BEC – Bilbao Exhibition Centre, IFEMA – Feria de Madrid, Feria Valencia

NEC – National Exhibition Centre Birmingham

Press and media contact

EMECA Secretary General

Ms Barbara Weizsäcker
Rue de l'Amazone 2
B-1050 Brussels

Tel +32 2 535 72 50



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