‘Derek was a fighter, who made things happen,’ recalls Seatrade founder Themis Vokos. ‘He was the architect of much of the Hong Kong and China successes of the Hong Kong Trade Fair Group, of which he was managing director.’
Derek Dickins was born in the UK in 1931 and started his career with Lloyd’s Register, before being appointed assistant press officer of the British Shipbuilding Council. He joined Seatrade in 1970, moving to Colchester with his first wife Wenda and their children, where he worked at the company’s head office on its publishing and events businesses. He moved to Athens in the eighties as executive director of Posidonia. It was there he met and married his second wife, Fanny, who remained his close companion for the rest of his life.
Derek transfered to Hong Kong in 1979, to develop new business for the group beyond its traditional roots in the shipping industry. His new event launches included a trade fair for the leather goods industry, which was accommodated in the newly opened Hong Kong Convention Centre, and which tapped into the growing appetite for face to face business networking in Asia at the time. The Australian Leather and Skin Association wanted to move their leather show from Singapore to Hong Kong to be nearer the developing China market, and the event was an instant success. New launches for other industry sectors, such as beauty products, followed, with similar outcomes.
Derek remained resident in Hong Kong for many years, as an active member of the business community. He was a tireless networker and a big supporter of the exhibition industry through its global association, UFI. He was an active member of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong and an enthusiastic mentor of young people in the community.
His retirement was gradual, as he continued to provide support and consultancy for the Hong Kong Trade Fair Group, following its acquisition by United Newspapers ( later Informa plc ), travelling extensively, mostly accompanied by his wife Fanny.
He retired to Greece where he split his time between Athens and Aegina. He will be missed by family, friends and colleagues.
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