CEO Werner Dornscheidt departs Messe Düsseldorf

25th June, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

Werner Dornscheidt, president and CEO of ProWein organiser Messe Düsseldorf, will retire from the company after 37 years.

L-r: Werner Dornscheidt and Wolfram Diener

Dornscheidt, who has held the role of president and CEO for 17 years, will step down from the firm on 30 June 2020.

“Trade fairs are my life,” said Dornscheidt. “What we have built up together with my team over all those years benefits the company today. While conditions are difficult at present, it is comforting to know that ‘my’ company is in good hands.

“The team is already busy working on a re-start and developing further digital add-ons so that Messe Düsseldorf will also remain the successful, reputable company in future that it is today. I have made my contribution.”

Wolfram Diener, current managing director, operative business at Messe Düsseldorf since 2018, will take over as CEO from 1 July.

“I am delighted at the trust placed in me,” said Diener. “We can perfectly build on Werner Dornscheidt’s achievements and jointly rise to the challenges ahead.

“Here in Düsseldorf we boast an inimitable brand profile that can be made even more successful through the drivers that are internationalisation and digitalisation; and what’s just as important: a powerful team.”

Messe Düsseldorf reported a sales increase of 28.7% to €378.5 million (US$425.3m) in 2019. Group earnings after tax more than doubled last year to reach €56.6m (US$63.6m).

The company said Dornscheidt spearheaded its “strategic re-orientation” which led to the firm’s international growth. He also helped to develop the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre in terms of technical facilities, functionality, convenience and architecture. In addition, Dornscheidt was said to be instrumental in the development of the company’s digitalisation of the trade show format.

New board members

Erhard Wienkamp, managing director of fair management, and Bernhard Stempfle, managing director of finance and technical operations, digital strategy and communication, will join the board of managing directors.

Dornscheidt added: “Markets are shifting, the world is getting more international, digital and complex. The Covid-19 pandemic brings unprecedented challenges. Looking back on my many years of trade fair experience, Wolfram Diener, Bernhard Stempfle and Erhard Wienkamp are the ideal trio to steer Messe Düsseldorf through the corona crisis and place it in pole position for the future.”

Messe Düsseldorf is one of the largest trade show organisers in the world and hosts wine and spirits fair ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany. ProWein had been scheduled to take place from 15-17 March 2020, but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

ProWein 2019 hosted more than 6,900 exhibitors – 400 of which were spirits brands – hailing from 142 countries. This line-up attracted record visitor numbers for the 2019 show, with 61,500 guests, up from 60,500 the previous year.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our newsletter