Stephen Bennett

Visionary, strategic and highly approachable business adviser and horticultural events consultant.

 

Experience with commercial and not-for-profit organisations, available to take on large and small projects in the UK and overseas.  

 

Outstanding track record in:

  • planning, designing, organising and developing  events in horticulture, culture, arts, education, science and entertainment

  • developing large and small venues

  • retail and business management

  • executive board responsibility; trading company MD

 

Best known as the RHS Shows Director for 28 years, developing the portfolio of RHS events including the Chelsea Flower Show and launching all the other RHS shows during the tenure. Responsible as Director for around 600 internationally respected shows throughout the UK.

  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show reputedly became the UK’s most profitable consumer exhibition during this time; organised the Royal Preview; instigated and launched the Chelsea Gala Preview Evening

  • RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show & Gala Preview Evening

  • RHS Shows at Tatton Park, Cardiff, Malvern, BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Westminster, Wisley, Scotland and three of the UK’s national Garden Festivals.

 

Founder and MD of a highly profitable trading company RHS Special Events Ltd, set up to run the Chelsea Flower Show Gala Preview Evening, the start of the social and business calendar and one of the UK's most profitable charitable events. 

 

During this time, the Chelsea Flower Show Gala Preview attracted more FTSE 100 Chairmen and Chief Executives than any other event in the UK.

Instrumental in setting up the RHS press and marketing functions, negotiating the TV broadcast contracts for Chelsea and other shows with the BBC and Channel 4, and procuring major show sponsorships including Merrill Lynch, Marshalls, Lloyds TSB and M&G Investments. 

 

I now travel widely visiting, advising or designing and planning shows and events throughout the UK, Europe, China, Taiwan, Singapore, America, Russia, Turkey and the Middle East. 

Career History

 

Management & Events Consultant 2014 - present

Royal Horticultural Society, 1985 - 2013

Shows Director and member of the senior leadership team of executive directors for the whole of the RHS

 

Oddbins (UK) Ltd Retail Wine Shops, 1972-1985

Branch Manager in London then General Manager for Scotland & the North of England

 

Having worked for the company throughout college then managed two highly profitable London branches. Promoted to the General Manager role aged 27, I managed 19 retail branches in Scotland and the North of England: £10 million turnover, 140 staff and autonomous management of these regions.

Training

 

Professional courses attended included:

  • Successful leadership

  • Successful area management

  • Project management

  • Media training

  • Health & Safety

  • Employment law

  • Strategic crisis management

  • Major incident planning and management

  • Myers-Briggs senior management training