MCI Group, Coulter Companies Announce Merger

The merger of two leading events and association management companies gives MCI a steady U.S.-based presence and offers Coulter access to a global network of tools and resources.

What started as a casual conversation about business aspirations among friends quickly turned into a merger of two companies that will create what the parties say will be the world’s largest engagement and activation organization. Coulter Companies, a U.S.-based association and events management company, and MCI Group, an international events and association management provider, announced their merger this week.

This merger provides everyone involved a tremendous opportunity for growth and global exploration—something we didn’t have just a few weeks ago.

The union will make Coulter and Agency Coulter—the group’s luxury events brand—MCI Group’s home base in the U.S. And for the time being, both companies will continue to use their same names.

“I’ve known Robin Lockerman, the group president at MCI, for years, and we’d had a series of brief conversations about him exploring a U.S. footprint,” said Erin Fuller, president at Coulter. “I’m an incredibly competitive person so I was thinking, ‘Well, why doesn’t he talk to us?’ So, I saw that as a challenge, which Robin appreciated.”

The familiarity with one another helped move the conversation along, but the decision to merge was the result of a lot of vetting to ensure the move was the best way forward for both organizations, said Thomas Coulter Gibson, Coulter’s CEO.

“The quality of the discussions which took place, we saw very quickly the kind of cultural alignment and the positioning of our respective companies chiefly as strategists,” Gibson said. “Not only did we see that cultural alignment in terms of both being progressive, diverse, forward-looking, and forward-thinking companies, but also we saw that our reputations and management approaches to our clients was really strategic…. In an industry sector where merger and acquisition is coming about more and more frequently, that kind of alignment was crucial to both sides.”

The merger was “predicated around the need for growth,” Gibson added. “There isn’t a single position within Coulter Companies that is being eliminated, and in fact quite the opposite. We are going to be actively reviewing new talent to fulfill new and upcoming opportunities that will result from this merger.”

At launch, the Coulter-MCI union brings together a network of more than 1,800 professionals in 60 cities and 31 countries. Fuller said she is most looking forward to gaining access to a robust, global network of colleagues and resources.

“We’re going from an office of about 100 staff and all of a sudden be able to compete on a global level almost immediately,” she said. “And we’ve already heard from some of MCI’s clients who are excited to be able to have some consistency in terms of who they work with here in the U.S., and MCI’s thrilled to be able to leverage Coulter as its U.S. platform. This merger provides everyone involved a tremendous opportunity for growth and global exploration—something we didn’t have just a few weeks ago.”


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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