PGI Inc., the Arlington, Va.-based event and communications agency, has sold PGI Spearhead to a team of Spearhead managers and a U.K.-based investment group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PGI acquired what was then Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd. six years ago and owned it as part of PGI's exhibition and conference management division. Again to operate as Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd., the newly divested company will continue to own and manage its portfolio of trade shows and exhibitions, mainly in the offshore oil and gas, defense, technology and aerospace industries. At a Jan. 17 press conference announcing the deal, PGI Chairman and C.E.O. Darryl Hartley-Leonard said PGI will now focus primarily on managing shows for U.S.-based corporate and association clients. PGI continues its ownership of the Destination Showcase series.

"PGI Spearhead was an asset-based company that has seen significant growth in Western Europe and will see more in Eastern Europe, and we felt it was best that it be operated by a European group," Hartley-Leonard said. "We felt PGI is a service-based, and we wanted to focus on that. Right now, this transaction makes us a domestic trade-show and exhibition-management company. If the opportunity arises to offer those services overseas, we will look at that."

Hartley-Leonard noted that PGI also wants to focus on offering services that will bring together what he called the "traditionally disconnected" areas of show management and housing/registration.

"This is an area we believe offers a significant opportunity for PGI," Hartley-Leonard said. "PGI is an end-to-end services provider. We're committing ourselves to offering a technical environment that can help us seamlessly service both management and housing and registration needs for our clients."

Toward that end, Hartley-Leonard announced that Rick Dobson, CEM, has been named senior vice president, exhibitions and HRT (Housing, Registration and Travel) for PGI. Dobson, a 25-year industry veteran, most recently served as regional vice president of sales for Passkey Inc., a provider of Internet-based group housing and travel solutions for the meetings industry. Dobson will manage PGI's Exhibition and Conference Management department and its Housing, Registration and Travel services.