Edtech

Bett organiser to exit Russia after pressure from education sector 

Russian events will be led by a local leadership team - but Hyve 'won't profit or invest in' them

Russian events will be led by a local leadership team - but Hyve 'won't profit or invest in' them

15 Mar 2022, 18:22

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The organiser behind the upcoming Bett show have pledged to exit the Russian market after exhibitors and attendees threatened to boycott the London event. 

The British Education Training and Technology Show is a series of global education events organised by the Hyve Group showcasing the biggest and latest innovations in EdTech. 

However its flagship London show, scheduled to take place at ExCeL London next week, came under fire as exhibitors and attendees voiced intentions to ditch the event. 

Hyve Group pulled its events in Ukraine following the Russian invasion. But it planned to go ahead with 14 events it runs in Russia, including international security exhibition Securika.

In recent days, global giants such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks have all halted business In Russia following mounting pressure from around the world to act. 

However, the group announced via the London Stock Exchange this afternoon that “as the invasion escalates further, the Board has made a decision to formally exit the Russian market”.

A statement sent to Schools Week said the decision-making for the events will be led by a “local leadership team” to “safeguard 206 colleagues in Russia and the long-term future of the local business”.

But Hyve will “no longer be profiting from events in Russia nor investing in or receiving cash from Russian operations. Hyve branding will be removed from all Russian events going forward.”

In his statement, Hyve chief executive Mark Shashoua said the invasion of Ukraine has caused human suffering beyond words and called for it to end immediately.

He added: “Our primary focus throughout has, like many, been the safety and welfare of our people.

“We care deeply about our 87 colleagues in Ukraine and have been in constant communication with them while supporting them and their families in any way we can, including through financial and relocation assistance.

“But we also care about our 206 colleagues in Russia who have played a significant role in our business. The invasion of Ukraine is not their fault, and we have been determined to find an outcome which offers stability for them as quickly as possible. However, as the situation worsens, we must act.

“That’s why today we have announced to the stock market and our shareholders our decision to exit Russia.”

It was reported the firm posted revenues for the year to September 30 of £55 million – with a profit before tax of £20.8 million, up from £18.1 million for the previous year.

Attendees threaten boycott if Hyve failed to act

EdTech expert Joshua Perry received a mass of support via social media after he voiced his concerns about the event. 

Perry said he was boycotting the show unless Hyve ended its Russian activities and encouraged others to do the same.

The government’s behaviour tsar Tom Bennett and Ofsted’s former head of research Daniel Muijs are among those that pledged support 

Schools Week understands a number of exhibitors may also have boycotted the event if the company failed to exit Russia. 

Caroline Wright, director general of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) which supports the event, said the group has been “in contact with Hyve to share our concerns regarding their business interests in Russia and we are aware that the Hyve group are actively considering the issue”.

She added: “We will be monitoring the situation closely and would welcome news as soon as possible of an end to Hyve’s activities in Russia given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.”

David Weston, chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust, tweeted earlier today that “as a values-led organisation [the trust] will not continue to support nor participate in the BETT show if the parent group Hyve continues operating events in Russia”.

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