René Kamm, the longtime chief executive of MCH Group
—the parent company of the Art Basel
fair franchise, among many others—announced his resignation on Friday. The decision comes amid faltering
attendance and participation at another marquee MCH fair, the watch and jewelry trade show Baselworld. Last month, its biggest exhibitor, the Swatch Group, revealed
it would not participate in the 2019 fair. Kamm began directing Baselworld in 1999 and had been the MCH Group’s CEO since 2003.
“We owe a great deal to René Kamm,” Ulrich Vischer, the chairman of MCH’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Not only has he decisively shaped world-renowned exhibitions such as Art Basel and Baselworld, he also recognized early on the changes that digitalisation and multi-channel concepts bring with them and, in doing so, advanced the diversification and internationalisation of MCH Group.” Vischer will oversee the company’s operations, in cooperation with members of its executive board, until Kamm’s successor is found.