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Meet the Team

Retail Design Expo is brought to you by Legend Exhibitions Limited, a company with many years experience of delivering exhibitions, conferences, events and magazines relevant for their industries. Legend is highly skilled at working with all branches of particular industries to deliver the right concepts and to ensure we deliver the very best possible event for all participants.

The management team has launched and run over 50 exhibitions in the UK and overseas ranging from Retail Business Technology Expo, Retail Asia Expo, The Restaurant Show, Destinations and Bathrooms & Kitchens Expo, Top Drawer, Publishing Expo and The Hospitality Technology Show.

Further details on the key management team:


John Bednall

I started my career at Haymarket Publishing in the marketing and media division then went to launch the USA division for them. I also worked as a publisher of consumer and medical titles in Holland and was a founder of Quantum Business Media which was a MBO from EMAP. Moving to the exhibitions side as Managing Director I ran The Restaurant Show for a decade and was responsible for numerous other launches such as Total Publishing and Bathrooms and Kitchens Expo.

In 2002 I left to launch an events company in Hong Kong that launched Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong and Retail Asia Expo which included Retail Technology Expo and Retail Design and In-Store Marketing Expo. That company became a joint venture with Diversified Business Communications and in July 2012 sold my interest to focus 100% on Legend Exhibitions in the UK.

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Annie Swift
Event Director

A Haymarket protégé with an eventual defection to Centaur Media Plc, I have spent the vast majority of my working life in publishing, online, conferences, and events, all in the marketing and advertising space. I had 20 glorious years working as Publishing Director of a range of marketing and creative titles, including Marketing Week, Creative Review and InStore, and all their many brand extensions. And now I get to mix marketing, creativity and a whole dollop of retail. What a fantastic cocktail for someone who is prone to a bit of shopping! Retail Design Expo 2015 has come at exactly the right time for me and of course for the industry. What a Show!



Rachel Marshall
Sales Manager

My career began in publishing at Haymarket but once I moved to the exhibition side of things I found the industry that I love! It’s such a great buzz seeing an event come to life and bringing people together. I have worked on BBC Gardeners’ World Live, spent three years living in Dubai as Sales Manager of Middle East Electricity, and then returned to London to join the UK’s leading fashion trade event Pure London. Shopping is a huge passion of mine and most weekends you will find me on the high street! This is why I was so excited to get involved in Legend’s new event Retail Design Expo 2015 and have the opportunity to speak to and learn more from the people that are involved in fantastic retail design. I am the Sales Manager of the event so if you want to get involved give me a call!

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Michelle Thomas
Senior Sales Executive
Bio coming soon

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Simon Pickles
Sales Executive
Bio coming soon

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Irina Gaspar
Conference Director
Irina started her career over 10 years ago, when she landed on a full time job in public relations after a summer internship. She spent her first five corporate years working for various multinational advertising companies, such as BBDO or Saatchi&Saatchi. In 2009 she decided to pursue her career goals on a much larger market, so she moved to London to work for the European TV channel euronews, before moving on to work in the events department at Incisive Media, an international media publishing house, where she spent four years producing award-winning conferences. Irina is now Conference Director at Legend Exhibitions, where she is in charge of all the co-located conferences at the Retail Business Technology Expo and Retail Design Expo.  Irina has a BA in PR and Communications and a MA in Media and Communications from City University, London.
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Matthew Valentine
Editor, Retail Design World

I have specialised in covering the retail design and marketing industry since starting a career as a reporter at Retail Week in 1994. I moved to Design Week, becoming news editor, before editing In-Store for nine years. I then spent a period working for Chemist + Druggist before becoming group editor of a portfolio of engineering magazines. As a freelance journalist I returned to design and marketing, writing for titles such as Marketing Week, The Brand Communications Book, Stylus.com and The Retail Bulletin. I joined Retail Design World in February 2014, the new online magazine focussing on trends and innovation in the sector from around the globe. Retail Design World will bring together retailers, designers and suppliers with hard-hitting news, interviews, analysis, expert comment and a keen eye for detail.


Cindy Hedmann
HR & Operations Director

I am an experienced exhibitionist with time spent in both independent and corporate companies mainly in trade shows and events including Retail Technology Business Expo, The Restaurant Show; Bar Show; Care Shows, Hospitality Technology; Publican Conference and Publishing Expo but also have some consumer event experience, particularly as part of the original team that launched Taste of London.

I am a multitasker with experience in many disciplines including operations, full event management, marketing and publishing but my passion is marketing and was proud to win the UBM Marketer of the Year in my first year joining UBM. I am a true omnichannel shopper and could never imagine life without a day out shopping! My personal annoyance is staff not engaging and having to queue when there is staff available – customer experience is king!

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Valeria Perciany David
Marketing Manager
Valeria Perciany David has over 15 years’ professional experience, most of which has been spent in marketing. During this period she successfully managed and led teams in the execution of numerous marketing campaigns for events and conferences in the UK, Europe, Middle-East, Africa and South America. More recently, she was responsible for the communication strategy of a large transnational partnership between Brazil and European entities.

Valeria is a fully qualified PRINCE2 project manager. She holds a Masters in Marketing from Kingston University and a Law Degree from Catholic University Dom Bosco in Brazil.

Sachin Pankhania Edited

Sachin Pankhania
Marketing Executive

As one of the youngest members of the team, I started Legend as an apprentice in 2013. I came into head up the Social Media for the company; since I started I have worked as part of the Marketing team on two RBTE shows and have seen the launch of Retail Design Expo.  I have also taken on the responsibility being exhibitor support across both shows, not to forget I was named apprentice of the year back in March 2015. I am now working as a Marketing Executive across the Legend Portfolio.

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