Industry stalwart, Kelvyn Gardner, has been appointed managing director designate of LIMA UK, with the position expected to be formalised during August. He replaces Andrew Levy, who has been head of the UK arm of the organisation for the last eight years.
Kelvyn cut his teeth in the licensing industry as a licensee before founding his own licensing consultancy called Asgard Media. He is experienced and knowledgeable across the licensing spectrum and is in demand as a speaker at seminars or when an industry spokesman is required.
The appointment of a new head for the only official European outpost of LIMA comes at a crucial time for the organisation as it tries to represent the interests of this diverse industry worldwide. LIMA's board remains dominated by US executives. At the moment, out of nearly 20, there is just one international board member, whose heavy burden is to represent all the LIMA members from the rest of the world. President, Charles Riotto, hopes to appoint a second international board member next year.
There are approximately 110 UK members of LIMA at the moment, the majority of whom are agents and support companies. Kelvyn wants to grow this UK membership by re-assessing the benefits of belonging. At the moment, the biggest benefit is the discount members receive on their trade show stand - not something licensees or retailers can necessarily take advantage of. He will continue with the successful networking and educational events already run by LIMA; will talk to other trade associations to learn more about best practice and in the longer term will investigate expanding outside the UK.
But his first task is to hear from the industry. 'I want to start with a clean sheet of paper,' he told License Europe. 'Lots of people say they want to contribute ideas - I'm keen for feedback and would urge people to get in touch with everything they've ever wanted to say about LIMA but were too afraid to ask.'
LIMA, which relies principally on the trade shows in New York and London for its revenue, isn't officially a lobbying organisation because it represents companies from all sides of an issue; buyers and sellers. However, as Kelvyn says, 'the media still don't know what to do with us, so there is an opportunity for the public profile of the industry to be raised. There is lots to be proud of.'
Running LIMA is a part-time role and Kelvyn will keep up his own consultancy, Asgard Media, and his property tracker, Where Kids Are At, now in its fifth year.