Operations for bosses leaves UBM rudderless

Ollie Gordon
UBM chair Dame Helen Alexander
BRITISH events group UBM announced yesterday it would be without its chairman and chief executive officer for at least two months, with both having taken medical leave to recover from operations.

Chairman Dame Helen Alexander is currently recovering from a recent unspecified operation and is expected to return to work in March. Chief executive Tim Cobbold will have an operation – also unspecified – shortly and will resume in his role within a two-month period.

In their absence, UBM’s senior independent director Alan Gil­lespie will fill in for Alexander as acting non-executive chairman and chief financial officer Robert Gray will replace Cob­bold as acting chief executive, as well as continuing in his present role.

Investors appeared to take the news in their stride, with the company’s share price remaining relatively flat throughout the day’s trading, eventually finishing 1.3 per cent up at 465.1p.

The London-based UBM completed the $972m (£644m) acquisition of trade show company Advanstar a week before Christmas. The firm said Advanstar would remain a separate entity within its US business during 2015 and, in Cobbold’s absence, Gray would oversee the integration process.

A FTSE 250 firm with a market value of £2bn, UBM has seen it stock rise 19.8 per cent since October, following the announcement of the Advanstar purchase. After Reed Elsevier, UBM is the world’s second biggest events company by revenues.