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Former FutureGov sales chiefs launch rival public sector events brand OpenGov

OpenGov's website

OpenGov’s website

A rival to FutureGov, Asia’s only pureplay public sector technology publishing and events brand, has quietly launched in Singapore.

Called OpenGov, the new brand has been founded by Mohit Sagar and Ellen Quek, who both made abrupt departures from FutureGov only last month.

OpenGov is offering customised, sponsorable events ranging from small training seminars to large conferences with a specific focus on a space FutureGov has operated in virtually unopposed since 2003 – government, healthcare and education IT.

The company’s first events have already been scheduled. One is to take place in March, in Malaysia, with two others slated for May and June this year in Singapore. The events are branded as part of the OpenGov Leadership Forum series, and will go head-to-head with the long-running FutureGov Forum series.

The ‘About us’ blurb on OpenGov’s website reads: “Having spoken to over 500 Government IT officials this year alone, we have detailed the challenges Government CIOs face today and have embarked on a journey with them to bring them the solutions, best practice examples for their departments and help build the bridges for the gaps they encounter on their way.”

Sagar

Sagar

OpenGov is part of a new company called the CIO Network, for which Sagar is group MD and Quek is general manager, Asia. On Sagar’s LinkedIn profile page, he writes that the CIO Network “has been set up to ensure that the public sector industry of Southeast Asia continues to have a platform that I created 5 years ago, whereby government technology professionals can network, interact and learn from each other.”

At the beginning of December, James Smith, the founder of FutureGov’s owner Alphabet Media, tweeted that Sagar, who was his number two, and Quek, who was his main revenue earner, had left the company. He then blamed the two executives, who had been with Alphabet for 11 years combined, for the poor performance of FutureGov’s events division in a LinkedIn post. However, a number of sources familiar with the matter have suggested that there is another reason for their departure that has yet to come to light, and they could be mounting a court case against Smith over the terms of their dismissal.

Quek

Quek

When Quek left, a number of the sponsors of the FutureGov Forum in Singapore pulled out. Soon after, FutureGov’s events arm was substantially reduced when Smith made most of his events team redundant, saying that the delivery of future events would no longer be through a standalone events team. The company’s main opportunity for future growth was in digital publishing, he said.

  • Disclaimer: The author of this story was an employee of Alphabet Media from February 2009 – December 2010.
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