Matthew Weihs is Managing Director of the Bench. Within this role he focuses on the development of new business opportunities and sales for the Bench and partners, whilst also supporting the direction of the business and providing commercial support for new product launches. First and foremost a passionate development director who has been involved in business-to-business conferences for over two decades. Matthew’s key skills are creating business proposition and finding support to launch and support new events and services for the Bench. Having started his event career with IQPC in 2000 he took on many sales related roles before moving to the Guardian News and Media as Sales Director in 2007. Joining the Bench in 2020 his main responsibilities have been to develop the business and enact upon a vision for growing and diversifying the business. Since joining the portfolio of events and services has grown to wider hospitality as well as strengthened the existing hotel investment events. With divisions focused in aviation, restaurants and real estate the Bench is the leader in hospitality services in EMEA. In 2012 he successfully founded and launched the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) which, in 2019, developed the sister conference (FIHA) Forum de l’Investissement du Hotel Africain. In 2013 development of the Morocco Tourism Investment Forum (MTIF) – gave the Bench the impetus to work for clients to produce and deliver invitation only events to aid their marketing. Across Europe (2015) he launched the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) (not owned by the Bench) and recently negotiated the acquisition of the Adria Hotel Forum and placed this brand in the newly formed IDEEA – Investment, Development in Eastern Europe Assets portfolio. As well as negotiating the partnership with Hotel Analyst to develop the Operational Real Estate Festival (OpRE). Always keen to spot an opportunity and try new things during the decade with Bench, Weihs has also worked as a Director of the African Chapter of Destination Develop, a full service marketing platform for our investment customers and launched his own business Africa Event Services (AES) where he launched an event for real estate professionals (SPACE – Efficient Buildings Africa) that is now part of the Bench portfolio as it strives to support education and support for sustainable growth and investment in hospitality. Outside of work Matt, when not busy with his wonderful girls, he is a keen cricket supporter and player and was part of the organisation team behind KiliMadness – the world record breaking “highest game of cricket” – played at 5750m in the crater of Kilimanjaro (raising almost £300,000 for Tusk (conservation) and Cancer Research. Fun and fundraising is never far from his mind and in 2019 he completed an ultra-marathon (100km) raising money for MIND (the mental health charity). Annually he’s been organising a cricket match raising over £8000 for local and international charities.