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Owen Ellis goes full time at the AV User Group as global expansion continues

Michael Garwood 15 September 2017

‘Victim of his own success’ Ellis quits Morgan Stanley to become full time paid chairman of AV User Group after rapid membership and international growth 

The AV User Group has today (September 14) confirmed that its chairman Owen Ellis will be taking up the role on a full time paid basis, having resigning from Morgan Stanley after 17 years.

Ellis, who was an executive director at Morgan Stanley and chairman of AVUG since 2010, made the announcement to the group’s members during an event held in London. He becomes the first person to hold a full time paid position with the non-profit (sponsor funded) organisation in its 20 years history.

“This is a long overdue move for this rapidly expanding group,” commented AVUG Management Committee member Kevin McLoughlin. “While the details of the transition have been thoroughly worked out by the management committee it has become increasingly frustrating to see opportunities missed because of the lack of resources to support the growth. Once Owen is unleashed into his full-time role, I am convinced the group will explode with new members, new locations and added value for both members and sponsors.”

Growth

The AVUG has operated for two decades with the support of volunteers from its membership and more recently with a five-person management committee headed by Ellis.

The purpose of AVUG, which was set up in 1996 by Simon Dudley, is to provide an independent, supplier agnostic forum for end users of AV equipment. The group meets up to four times a year in for a series of member events, which feature formal presentations from manufacturers, case studies, the unveiling of relevant research findings and discussions on topical subjects or challenges faced.

The group has seen membership numbers increase considerably in recent years, up from 70 in 2010 to more than 650 today. This includes more than 300 international members – having expanded into New York and Hong Kong in recent years, with a new group in San Francisco due to launch in 2018

AVUG said in a statement that Ellis has been a ‘victim of his own success in recent years,’ juggling his ‘demanding day job’ with running the group. The management committee has met several times during the last 18 months as the plan to move from a volunteer only organisation to an employer/volunteer combination formulated.

With Ellis in the full-time paid role as chairman, Kevin McLoughlin and Deborah Jones from the Management committee will take on roles as directors of the Ltd Company. Steering committees and a non-exec board will be created in each group location formed of volunteers from the membership, taking up 2-3 year roles.

McLoughlin told AVTE that the group’s ambitions were high and Ellis moving to a full time role will help achieve them.

“Our ambitions going forward are to continue membership growth both in our existing areas of operation as well as globally,” said McLoughlin. “We want to add more member value and benefits resulting in the group becoming a standalone world leading AV end user membership body.

He added: “These are very exciting time for the group. Our chairman Owen Ellis shortly taking on a full time role will allow him to drive these ambitions forward into a new phase of growth.”

For more information on the AV User Group, including how to become a member, please visit: www.avusergroup.com

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