Paul Thandi, CEO of NEC Group, which operates Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena (cap. 15,685), has had his official investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Thandi was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE, in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List, but had waited 23 months to be presented with the prestigious medal. Thandi was recognised for his services to the economy through his successful 14-year leadership of the NEC Group.

Having had his investiture ceremony postponed numerous times because of Covid-19, Thandi joined an elite roster of awardees who were presented with their medals by The Duke of Cambridge on 9 November.

Thandi said, “I feel both privileged and proud to receive this award. I’m the first to recognise that this is also a reflection of the endeavour and commitment of those around me, who have persevered with me taking on difficult challenges and grasping new opportunities. I have had the honour of helping the NEC Group businesses grow across the UK and beyond throughout my time here. We support well over 29,000 jobs in the wider regional economy and this is set to go even higher as we expand our reach in the coming years.

“Working within the live events sector has provided me with many opportunities, enabling me to meet and engage with so many inspirational people across business, education and the public sector. To be personally recognised in this way is truly fantastic but I owe so much to many others who have helped me throughout my career, and for that I am always grateful and recognise it’s now my job to do that for others.”

Thandi became NEC Group CEO in 2007 and in this 14-year leadership role he has steered the organisation from council ownership into private equity ownership.

Last week that the group announced its new NEC Masterplan which will see the site overhauled and the creation of 14,000m2 of new outdoor event space.