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At the end of January 2020, the Board of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), staff, colleagues and industry stakeholders said their goodbyes to Julie-May Ellingson, and thanked her for her significant contribution as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CTICC for the past five and a half years.

During Ellingson’s tenure, the CTICC experienced 62% growth in revenue, noteworthy supplier transformation, top customer ratings (improving from 78% to an average of 85%), consecutive clean audits, and a growing CSI investment. Her staff grew from 146 to 275 personnel during this period – with a substantial increase of women in management positions and the implementation of a graduate programme to grow the CTICC’s talent. Ellingson also oversaw the successful construction ad launch of the R1bn CTICC 2 expansion project.

Deon Cloete, CTICC Board Chairperson, said, “On behalf of the Board I wish to thank Julie-May for her valuable contributions to the CTICC over the last five years. With Julie-May at the helm, the CTICC has built a strong reputation for excellence and good governance. In doing so, she has attracted a number of industry awards that positioned the CTICC as one of the top convention centres, locally and abroad. Julie-May will always be able to look back at the CTICC development being a fundamental part of her legacy. We are grateful to Julie-May for agreeing to stay on until the end of January in order to facilitate a smooth transition to the new CEO, Taubie Motlhabane. For this, we are most grateful. We wish Julie-May and her family all the best for the future.”

“With Julie-May at the helm, the CTICC has built a strong reputation for excellence and good governance. In doing so, she has attracted a number of industry awards that positioned the CTICC as one of the top convention centres, locally and abroad.”

Ellingson thanked the CTICC team and Board for the time they spent working together; “I have absolutely loved my time at the CTICC. It has been a real privilege to work alongside such a passionate and dedicated CTICC team and Board. Together we have done great things and I know that they will continue to make a meaningful contribution to our economy; deliver exceptional events for our clients; and, more importantly, support our communities through job creation and volunteerism. I leave with a heavy heart and will sorely miss the entire #IAMCTICC team. I cannot thank them enough for all their hard work, camaraderie and willingness to give some of my more novel ideas a chance. In addition to the CTICC team, I will miss the many friends and colleagues I have made in the industry whom I am very proud to have worked alongside.”

Ellingson’s future plans include taking some time off to travel before relocating overseas. She says, “It is time for me to take on a new challenge and, who knows, maybe even do that doctorate!”

“This is a great loss for South Africa and also Africa. Julie-May has played an important role in growing our economy and her knowledge and leadership will leave a big void.”

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, CEO of the South African National Convention Bureau, summarised the loss that the industry is feeling with Ellingson’s departure when she said, “This is a great loss for South Africa and also Africa. Julie-May has played an important role in growing our economy and her knowledge and leadership will leave a big void. I want to wish her all success for the future. I know she will be an asset wherever she goes.”