Phil Mead

Representing the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games is just one of the personal successes of the managing director of the NEC Group Arenas, Phil Mead


I’ve always been involved in the events industry. I was general manager at the G-MEX centre in Manchester and then operations director at Cardiff International Arena. Prior to joining the NEC Group I was deputy director of events at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow.


I am responsible for overseeing the operation and development of Arena Birmingham and Genting Arena and ensuring our customers, both artists and visitors, have the best experience possible. I also lead on NEC Group International – the NEC Group’s venue management and consultancy operation. This harnesses expertise from right across the group, which we deliver across the globe.


My future ambition would be to see the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games bid through to a successful conclusion.


While at the SECC in Glasgow, I was part of a team that drove proposals for a new arena in the city – fast forward 10 years to 2013 and it had begun to operate as the SSE Hydro. Here in Birmingham, the night we launched the Barclaycard Arena in December of 2014 was a huge success for me and a credit to the team involved in the transformation. Having spent £26million on the redevelopment of the NIA, plus securing the naming rights deal for Genting Arena shortly after, contributed to a lasting legacy for the people of the West Midlands.

On a personal note, I represented the Isle of Man in the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, which was a real honour. I’ve also successfully brought up three out of four children to adulthood (my 15-year-old is not quite there yet!)


To successfully seize market opportunities, they need to be backed by thorough customer research. Having a firm understanding of your customers’ needs and wants is crucial to developing new propositions, increasing sales and boosting customer satisfaction rates.

Equally, you should also invest in the team around you. The NEC Group Arenas has a wealth of in-house experience and we are considered by many as leaders within the industry. To retain this expertise and attract fresh talent, you need to create an environment for your team to fly.


The entertainment and cultural offering this city provides – from Birmingham Royal Ballet to the fantastic array of events and international artists hosted by our own venues. Sometimes I feel we do not appreciate, fully realise or celebrate the quality of venues across Birmingham and the world-class performances they attract. Birmingham has it all. Moseley’s Indian restaurants are also up there as offering some of the finest cuisine I’ve ever tasted!


I still attempt to keep fit, and having an active teenager in the house definitely helps. Although these days, I’ll leave the more dynamic sports to him! Instead, I favour swimming or walking. There are some stunning places to visit in the English countryside – a great way to unwind after delivering a run of back-to-back events.