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Agenda Trade Show Founder Aaron Levant Announces Retirement


Aaron Levant—the founder of skate, surf and streetwear trade show Agenda—is parting ways with the business to pursue other career opportunities.

According to WWD, Levant, who founded Agenda in 2003 when he was only 19-years-old, said he is ready for a new professional adventure, after building up the California-based trade show’s presence over the past 15 years.

“There wasn’t an exit plan. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for the past two or three months,” Levant told WWD. “For me, it’s all about continuing to learn new stuff and take on new challenges, and as far as events and trade shows, I’ve learned everything that I can.”

In 2013, Reed Exhibitions, a leading trade show company, acquired Agenda, however, Levant stayed and transformed Agenda from a business-to-business trade show to a more consumer-friendly event, where brands can engage with people who are passionate about their products.

In 2017, Levant debuted Agenda Festival—a two-day trade show and one-day festival open to the public. A year earlier, he teamed up with Complex Networks co-founder Marc Ecko to establish ComplexCon—a Long Beach festival that included live performances, panels, food and product launches for millennial streetwear fans and generated more than $20 million in product sales.

After his February exit, Levant said he plans to create a succession plan, which will involve dividing his responsibilities into multiple roles, internally promoting employees and potentially yielding new talent for Reed Exhibitions. Even though Levant did not share what his next venture will be, he intends to stay on as a consultant for Reed Exhibitions and work on other side projects, including his Jon Buscemi culinary collaboration. Despite changes in streetwear, Levant demonstrated that placing the consumer first could help Reed Exhibitions stay agile in the future.

“I still stand by the statement I made about trade shows: The traditional B2B format is dying. That’s why I’ve been investing in these new formats,” Levant said. “The company is in good shape to move forward because we’ve been able to adapt to the market.”