This Just In

Emerald’s Marisa Nicholson Promoted to VP/Group Show Dir.


San Juan Capistrano, CA – Emerald Expositions appointed a new director for its Outdoor group after veteran vice president and group show director Kenji Haroutunian stepped down. Marisa Nicholson moves up the ranks to vice president, group show director of the Outdoor Group. She had been group sales director of Emerald’s Sports Group and connected with Outdoor Retailer for 11 years.

“Marisa was an obvious choice to take the reins of Outdoor Retailer. She has been a key driver of the growth and development of Outdoor Retailer, and has an intimate understanding of its successes, challenges and future goals,” said Darrell Denny, executive vice president of sports, apparel, eCommerce, licensing & business development. Denny told Trade Show Executive that Nicholson had played a far greater role than her title suggested. He credited her for her role in the Venture Out section of the show floor that spotlights exhibitors of outdoor apparel and products that appeal to youthful consumers who live in urban centers and likely aren’t steeped in backpacking or other traditional outdoor enthusiast activities.

Nicholson contributed to the strategic planning of events and led a team of 10 account executives serving Outdoor Retailer’s Winter and Summer editions as well as Interbike and the Sports Licensing & Tailgating Show. “I truly enjoy working on Outdoor Retailer, and my passion for the industry and its success is what drives me to make sure we are delivering the most value for our retailers and exhibitors at each show or event that we produce,” Nicholson told Trade Show Executive.

Outdoor Retailer has enjoyed robust growth in recent years as the consumer market for outdoor recreational products keeps increasing. The Summer show in 2013 grew to 520,412 net square feet (nsf) and was ranked 29th on the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 rankings of largest U.S. trade shows. The Winter edition was No. 36 with 400,689 nsf.

Outdoor Retailer, however, may not be facing a completely smooth trail in the coming years. Along with changing consumer trends and annual exhibitor turnover, the show could see some challenges in terms of a venue. The show is pushing Salt Lake City’s infrastructure to its limits, but at the same time, Emerald is committed to Utah through 2016, and attendees like the current location as opposed to a larger more-urban setting. Nicholson said she was ready to pick up the baton and keep Outdoor Retailer on a growth course.

Denny said tweaks in housing strategy were among the “things we can do differently,” although no sudden or wholesale changes were expected under Nicholson’s direction. “There are a couple of things in the hopper that are both interesting and possible,” he said.

Haroutunian spent 15 years with the show and has been part of the outdoor industry for nearly 30 years. His immediate plans for the future were not revealed. “I am proud of my tenure with the team and excited to move into my next role, in service to the industry I am so passionate about,” he said.

Reach Darrell Denny at (949) 226-5773 or; Marisa Nicholson at (949) 226-5700 or; Kenji Haroutunian at (310) 489-3281 or

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