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Event marketing companies Exhibitgroup/Giltspur and GES combine

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Phoenix—Responding to severely retrenched trade show and travel activity, experiential marketing agency Exhibitgroup/Giltspur and exhibition and event services company GES Exposition Services are being combined by parent company Viad Corp. into one internal operating unit.

The two entities will continue to work under their individual brands but will comprise one business unit, Viad’s Marketing and Events Group, according to Viad, which also will combine its travel related businesses to form Viad’s Travel & Recreation Group.

In May Viad cut its 2009 economic forecast, projecting its revenue will fall 20% to 25% from its 2008 level of $1.1 billion as tourism and expos fall off. Viad said at the time it would focus on cutting costs. Viad’s Marketing & Events Group will be led by John Jastrem, the current president-CEO of Exhibitgroup/Giltspur. Kevin Rabbitt, current president-CEO of GES, will remain with the company through Sept. 30, and will serve in an advisory capacity to Jastrem through the end of the year.

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