While based in the US, Mr. Richards will also lead account growth in the UK, overseeing the firm’s managed services and expanding the agency’s event resourcing capabilities and ability to seamlessly integrate with client teams onsite. These resourcing solutions allow clients to outsource a portion or all of their event functions directly to FIRST to manage. The agency currently provides these services for three leading global financial institutions. This integrated approach, and the data and benchmarking that underpin it, are unique offerings of FIRST.
“I am very excited to help drive FIRST’s growth trajectory, and in particular to help expand the existing managed services model to offer a range of services that seamlessly integrate into our clients’ event lifecycles and support their changing meetings and event needs,” said Mr. Richards. “As someone who is passionate about delivering exceptional event experiences, I also look forward to joining a team of people who share that vision.”
Prior to joining FIRST, Mr. Richards spent nearly 10 years with Grass Roots, a company he took from a start-up to a full-service meeting and events agency in the US, which was on the 2014 and 2015 Inc. 5000 lists of fastest-growing privately held companies in America.
Mr. Richards is a finalist in the 2015 EANYC & SmartCEO Deals of Distinction awards, which honors innovative business leaders and deal-makers from the Greater New York City region who have a unique story to tell about a business transaction and/or partnership that made a significant impact on the company’s success. He also sits on a number of executive advisory boards for major hotel brands, industry associations, and the New York CEO community.
FIRST, which celebrates its 20-year anniversary this year, specializes in the design and delivery of high-quality, live events for some of the world’s most iconic companies, from financial services to technology to automotive. The hire of Mr. Richards further complements FIRST’s full-service offerings in strategy, content development, managed services, and creative direction.