Michael Krouse, senior vice president of sales and client services for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, will become president and CEO of the Ontario (Calif.) Convention Center & Visitors Bureau. Krouse, head of sales for the Los Angeles CVB for the past seven years, was instrumental in the development of LA Live, a complex of new hotels, restaurants and retail stores surrounding the Los Angeles Convention Center—those changes have led in large part to a revival of the city’s convention and tradeshow business.
“And my last hurrah has just been approved,” Krouse says, referring to the Los Angeles City Council’s decision in late September to go ahead with an expansion of the convention center and the construction of a football stadium in downtown L.A. However, in taking on the SMG-managed CVB and convention center in the western suburbs of Los Angeles, Krouse says, “It is an opportunity to run my own operation, to move to the next level.”
Krouse will manage both the 115,000-square-foot convention center and the CVB. Although venue management firm SMG has run both entities for several years, Krouse says his appointment represents a change in philosophy. Whereas the focus in the past has been on successfully managing the building, Krouse says, “The biggest short-term need is to use the building to drive economic impact to the region.”
He says he will work not only to fill the convention center with events, but to create economic opportunities for the destination itself. “Ontario benefits when companies and groups bring their events to the city,” says Ontario City Manager Chris Hughes, “so finding a CEO capable of attracting new business to our area was a key focus in our search for a president and CEO.”
Krouse says that, in his current position as the No. 2 person in one of the largest CVBs in the United States, the only way to progress in his career was to move onto a new opportunity. He says his experience with convention center sales, CVB activities and hotel operations will all work to help him develop economic activity for Ontario.