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The Bookseller – News – Adam Ridgway replaces Gareth Rapley as London Book Fair director

Gareth Rapley, director of London Book Fair (LBF), is stepping away from the role and moving to a new position within Reed Exhibitions (RX), it was announced yesterday (18th April 2024). He will be replaced by Adam Ridgway, who assumes the role of director with immediate effect. The pair will work together for the next two months to ensure a smooth transition.

Rapley was appointed as director in September 2022 having previously spent time in the Middle East working in the energy sector. Following two editions of LBF in 2023 and 2024, he now returns to that sector with a promotion to the role of portfolio director.

He commented: “It has been a fantastic two years as director of LBF, in which time it has been a privilege to be a part of the book industry and meet many of the incredible champions of reading and literacy from around the world, that make the industry such a unique and creative place. I leave LBF knowing that it is in a strong position, having continued to bounce back after the pandemic. I have worked with Adam for several years and I know that he will bring a huge amount to the role.”

Ridgway is currently commercial director at RX. According to LBF, his 36-year career has seen him work in both B2B and B2C events across multiple industry sectors, including energy, jewellery, chemicals and broadcasting. These have ranged from “small scale, conference-led events with 1,000 attendees up to large-scale shows attracting 130,000 attendees” in countries including Canada, Malaysia, Bahrain, and Norway. Having previously lived and worked in the Middle East, Ridgway recently relocated back to the UK with his wife and two daughters.

 “I’m excited to be stepping into the role of LBF director and want to pay tribute to what Gareth has achieved over the past couple of years. This year’s fair received some incredibly positive feedback from both visitors and exhibitors, with attendance growing to over 33,000,” said Ridgway. “I know there is still work to be done as the Olympia redevelopment continues apace until its conclusion in 2026, which will present many opportunities for the future of the fair. I look forward to meeting colleagues across the industry, keeping dialogue open and understanding more about how we can deliver even better value for the industry year on year.”

David Roche, chair of the LBF advisory board, commented: “I’m sure that I speak for the London Book Fair advisory board when I say we will miss working with Gareth and in congratulating him for his move up to becoming a portfolio director at RX. It has been wonderful to see LBF restored to its pre-pandemic performance and taking its rightful place as the must-attend event in the publishing calendar. We welcome Adam Ridgway to the role and are confident that RX’s and Adam’s experience will ensure the requisite consistency and continuity as we move ahead with LBF.”

Kerry Prince, managing director at RX UK, added: “With over half a century of distinguished history and widely recognised as one of the key events in the international book industry’s calendar, the London Book Fair is responsible for setting the tone and agenda for the industry discussions that take place the rest of the year. Gareth has expertly led two very successful editions alongside the rest of the LBF team, creating a positive impact by working closely with the industry. We are excited to see his continued growth within RX.

“Drawing on decades of experience in event management across multiple sectors, we are delighted that Adam will steer LBF through the next phase of its evolution, working closely with the LBF advisory board and industry stakeholders to maintain and grow the fair for the creative industries. Over the coming months Adam will work closely with Gareth to ensure a smooth transition. As the Olympia redevelopment nears completion over the next couple of years, these are exciting times for the fair.”

The London Book Fair returns to Olympia London on 11-13 March 2025.

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