In the midst of the greatest trade fair crisis of all time, Messe Berlin in Germany has appointed a new CEO. In January, Martin Ecknig takes over from Christian Göke, who, after more than 20 years at the helm, had asked to terminate his contract in April.
Ecknig’s appointment comes as a surprise to many in the trade fair industry. The native of Berlin has no experience in the industry yet. The 53-year-old manager is a real estate expert and comes from Siemens. Ecknig completed his training there and has worked his way up in the company since 1983, working in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Munich.
Ecknig was, among other things, Head of Real Estate Germany, where he was responsible for buildings with more than five million square meters of office, production, and logistics space at 600 locations.
In 2019, he was promoted to Global Head of Customer Service Companies & Corporate at Siemens. Since March he was a Real Estate Business Partner of Siemens AG. Ecknig also deals with real estate at Messe Berlin. With a hall area of 170,000 square meters and an outdoor area of 100,000 square meters, Messe Berlin is the sixth largest exhibition company in Germany.
“Today, German exhibition grounds are oversized and often outdated,” says an industry insider who does not want to be named. The Berliners built modern buildings such as the City Cube for general meetings and the Hub27 – a hybrid of an exhibition hall and conference center.