Alastair Stewart is the Managing Director of etc.venues. His ambition of running his own business can be traced back to his entrepreneurial grandmother who set up a hotel in South Africa which drew the young Alastair into the hospitality world.
In 2006, Alastair left Rentokil Initial, where he was MD of the conference venue business, Initial Style Conferences. With private equity backing from Dunedin LLP and secondary buyout backing from Growth Capital Partners he has grown etc.venues, the specialist urban venue company, into one of the UK's leading conference and event brands.
With Alastair at the helm, the business has grown almost seven-fold; hosting over 18,000 events in 2018 across 15 venues in London, Birmingham and Manchester – with the launch of The Capital’s iconic County Hall venue attracting significant attention for its bold scale.
Following the opening of The City's largest conference suite at 133 Houndsditch and the training venue of the future in Chancery Lane, etc.venues now surpasses Hilton and Marriott in London, with a total of 278 meeting rooms.
2019 saw the company transform into a truly global brand with the announcement of 360 Madison – the first of three New York locations. With the support of a newly-strengthened management team, the ambition is to double the company’s size in the next 3-5 years.
Alastair won the ‘Transformational Leader‘ Award at EY Entrepreneur Of The Year London & South East region, UK. The coveted accolade celebrates outstanding entrepreneurs who’ve led growing organisations to bigger, brighter and better things.
As the company continues it's expansion, Alastair and Nick Hoare chat to Conference & Meetings World about what it takes the follow your vision, read all about "The $100m meeting man".
Chief Operating Officer
Nick has known etc.venues for over 15 years in a number of guises; in fact his first ever day of work was at an etc.venues in London, whilst working for Accenture. In 2007 he joined the etc.venues Board, representing Dunedin (Private Equity backers of the first MBO) until exit in 2021, before joining the etc.venues’ Management Team in June 2018 as Chief Operating Officer. This coincided with etc.venues’ partnership with Gencom and Benchmark, and the company’s expansion into the US.
At etc.venues, Nick saw the opportunity to work with the well-established team to grow the proven business model nationally and internationally, both organically and through acquisitions, to be become a Global leading brand in the Space as a Service sector.
In 11 years in private equity, Nick was involved in a wide range of businesses and transactions. These have included portfolio company investment, divestments, partial exits, break ups, refinancing and supplemental bolt on acquisitions. Nick also served as COO, driving the fundraising of Dunedin Buyout Fund III (£306m) and running internal operations. Nick was a Partner with a sector focus on Business Services and Technology.
Nick has seen first-hand how important the investment into technology is following his NXD roles at a medical devices company and a technology enabled same day logistics business. He championed a specific technology division to transform the core logistics business and cater for new and rapidly emerging disruptor clients.
His vision for etc.venues is to be the most stimulating, technologically advanced and creative day/urban meeting, training, event and conference provider, inspiring delegates across the globe.
In his spare time, he enjoys tennis, golf, skiing, kitesurfing and windsurfing. Nick is married with two children and lives in London.
Ed Ethelston is the Finance Director of etc.venues. He joined in January 2019 after spending 16 years in the media sector.
Prior to joining etc.venues Ed was CFO at PA Group, the owner of the Press Association, the UK’s national news agency and other media assets. While he was there completed two key acquisitions to help drive a large increase in EBITDA and was responsible for PA’s property portfolio and ultimately sold the PA’s London HQ to a hotel group.
Before PA Ed was in various finance roles for 12 years at Red Bee Media, a private equity backed media business providing media services to broadcasters in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia. He left Red Bee Media after being heavily involved in the sale of the business to Ericsson.
Ed qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC in London after completing a law degree.
Ed is a keen skier, cyclist and swimmer. He has two children and lives in London.
Director of Operations
Guy joined etc.venues in 2008 as venue manager of Maple House after working at Initial Style Conferences for 12 years. As Maple House became established he switched focus to our London venues and took on the successful development of our conference and event venues at 200 Aldersgate and 155 Bishopsgate.
Guy now has overall management responsibility for operations at all our venues - this includes overseeing the development of the new conference and event business at County Hall which opened in January 2017.
Helena Da Silva
Head of HR
Helena Da Silva is Head of HR and joined the company 6 years ago after completing her MSc Human Resources Development and Consultancy. She has a love for etc.venues people, service, design and venue locations. Helena heads up a team of 4 HR specialists responsible for more than 500 employees. Her background and passion is in hospitality and she worked in various large chain hotels across London working in events, sales and HR.
Originally from Portugal, Helena has her hands full outside of work with 2 daughters. However when this busy Mum does have some spare time, she enjoys watching interior design shows, dining out and always finds time for her favourites - a good red wine with cheese.
Director of Property & Projects
Iain has been with etc.venues since 2006. Iain has a background in venue management but has progressively taken on responsibilities for project managing new venue openings, finding new venues and the procurement of goods and services.
Iain manages a team of outside consultants in Design and Procurement that support the business and is actively involved in sourcing new venues working with third party property agents.
Head of Design
Franck joined etc.venues in 2000 working at The Hatton as a Manager, he then moved in to the Central team in 2006 to focus on brand standards and design to make the venues stand out. Having worked his way up through the company, Franck has gained a great understanding of client’s needs as well as operational, but believes that adding “design flair” can make a venue memorable or even unique.
He strives to create venues that are inspirational for our clients but also work as a well oiled machines operated by our highly skilled specialist teams. Franck achieves this with a variety of projects including working with the Chefs on developing food concepts and managing the etc.venues art collection. He is particularly well known for the passion he pours in to his projects and how much he loves his job!
Dominic joined etc.venues in 2007 with the opening of what was then, our largest venue in The City. He’s gone on to oversee our extensive growth in The City of London as well as opening our regional venues in Birmingham and Manchester.
In 2016, Dominic managed the opening of etc.venues in London's iconic County Hall on Southbank - one of our most ambitious venues to date, or so we thought! In 2019, we announced plans to expand to the US and as Dominic is something of a venue opening expert, he can’t wait to get stuck in to opening our first venue there. A keen runner in his spare time, he will soon be seen pounding the sidewalks of New York City as he hopes to make a ‘brit of a difference’ in the US.
Director of Marketing and US Sales
Adam joined etc.venues in 2009 as a Group Business Development Manager following stints working for both agencies and Hotels. After becoming the Head of Group Sales in 2014, he now is Director of Marketing and US Sales and oversees the expansion into the US.
Adam is an avid networker and sits on a number of committees within the industry including the HBAA and as an Associate Director for the Institute of Travel Management.
In 2020, Adam pioneered a major industry event, UKickstart, which was supported by twelve industry associations, and attended by over 1500 event professionals, including 300 in person at twelve venues nationwide.
He loves music and has been a professional DJ in his past with gigs including V Festival and the Hollyoaks Christmas Party.
Director of Sales
Declan leads the sales teams across etc venues’ growing conference portfolio. Since joining in 2010 he has successfully launched the company’s four largest venues: St Paul’s (2012), 155 Bishopsgate (2014), County Hall (2017) and most recently 133 Houndsditch (2019).
He is adept at identifying areas of growth for the company and has opened spaces that are transforming the experience etc.venues offers its clients.
Declan previously worked across sports stadia and hotels in the UK and United States, including Ascot Racecourse and the Oval Cricket Ground.