Jim Wood has resigned as president and CEO of the Louisville (Ky.) Convention & Visitors Bureau and its longtime executive vice president, Karen Williams, immediately took over as interim president and CEO.
Wood submitted his resignation to the CVB board Tuesday and Williams began her interim role the following day. Wood spent 11 years as head of the Louisville CVB, a period during which a number of major events and trade shows rotated through the city.
Williams spent 23 years with the CVB as well, retiring as executive vice
president two yea
rs ago. Since 2012, she has worked as a destination marketing consultant and director of industry relations for Schneider Publishing.
The CVB announced that a search for a permanent replacement would begin immediately.
During his 11-year tenure in Louisville, Wood:
• Attracted the National FFA Convention & Expo to the city for a three-year rotation that began last year and will continue through 2015 with an annual economic impact of $40 million,
• Landed the American Bus Association annual conference in 2016, and
• Signed a long-term contract for the SkillsUSA Convention to be held in Louisville from 2015 through 2020.
“The convention and tourism industry is a key driver of Louisville’s economy and our national international image,” says Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer in a statement. “Under Jim Wood’s leadership, both have grown significantly.”
Before going to work at the Louisville CVB in the late 1980s, Williams spent nine years in the hotel industry, beginning as a sales manager at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta and serving at 18 more hotels worldwide before moving to Louisville.
Louisville CVB Board Chairman Michael Howerton says in a statement, “We are thrilled that Karen can step in quickly to ensure we do not miss a beat on maximizing tourism growth and economic development.”