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Two Minutes with Ian Cummings

The new global head of CWT Meetings & Events talks consolidation, communications, and the pandemic’s silver lining.

CWT Meetings & Events has promoted Ian Cummings, its former global vice president of commercial, to the role of global head. Cummings, who has been with CWT M&E for nine years and is based in London, replaces Chris Bowen.
In his first days in the new role, we asked him for his take on the current industry landscape.

MeetingsNet: Even before the pandemic, we were seeing consolidation among independent planning companies. What’s your outlook for this market segment over the next few years?
Cummings: I think we’ll continue to see consolidations for many years to come. The M&E industry remains highly fragmented, and this presents challenges when companies are looking for more regional and global views on data, delivery consistency, standardized safety-and-security measures, and partners able to invest in a responsible approach to doing business across the globe.

MeetingsNet: Meeting and event companies have struggled through the pandemic’s meeting downturn. Is there any silver lining to be found?
Cummings: The silver lining is the accelerated use of technology, especially for virtual and hybrid solutions, and its creative uses to still communicate. We have had to learn new skills and apply our mindsets to create engaging comms plans. The pandemic has also driven home the powerful desire to meet face-to-face, and the impact it can have on productivity, culture, and, ultimately, company results. Most people we survey are keen to get back to face-to-face meetings as soon as safely possible.

MeetingsNet: Five years from now, how do you expect independent planning companies to market themselves differently than they do today?
Cummings: We will always need to communicate, and it’s the creative ways in which we communicate that are constantly evolving. We are all becoming more like TV producers with the rapid integration of technology. Companies that are able to plan, execute, and deliver across multiple hub locations with a mix of seamless live and virtual elements will be the companies that succeed.

MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Cummings: I spent the first seven years of my life in New Jersey and loved playing pee-wee league baseball, and thus have a deep-rooted love for the U.S.!


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