Jim Wood Steps Down From Louisville CVB Top Post; Karen Williams Named Interim President/CEO

January 27, 2014

Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau’s President and CEO Jim Wood resigned from the top post, effective immediately, and Karen Williams will take his place in the interim, beginning Jan. 29.  

Woods has been at the bureau for 11 years, and his resignation was accepted by the Commission of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau at a board meeting.

Williams previously held the post as executive vice president at the Louisville CVB, but had retired in 2012 after 23 years at the bureau.

“Jim Wood has brought Louisville unparalleled success when it comes to attracting conventions. We are certainly going to miss Jim’s enthusiasm,” said Board Chair Michael Howerton.

He added, “His innovative ideas will pay dividends in this community for years to come.”

Howerton said of Williams stepping in, “We are thrilled that Karen can step in quickly to ensure we do not miss a beat on maximizing tourism growth and economic development.”

For the next 90 days, Williams will represent the Louisville Bureau at industry tradeshows and conferences and provide strategic leadership and oversight of the Bureau in all aspects of its fiscal and daily operation.

Williams has worked in the hospitality industry for 32 years, beginning as a sales manager at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta.

Most recently, she has been working with leading hospitality industry clients as a consultant with her destination marketing company, Inspired, and also serving as director of industry relations for Schneider Publishing, a best-of-class organization among the meetings-industry media.

Wood was busy during his time in Louisville, leading efforts to bring to the city several large trade shows, including the recent hosting of the record-setting FFA at an economic impact of more than $40 million annually. 

Other accomplishments include the opening of a state-of-the-art Visitors Center in 2007; the launch of the regional tourism partnership of Bourbon Country, one of the few multi-city cooperative marketing campaigns; and the awarding of the American Bus Association annual conference in 2016.

Wood also was instrumental in signing long-term contracts with multiple conventions, including the upcoming SkillsUSA Convention coming 2015-2020.

Wood came to the bureau after serving as the president and CEO of the Greater Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau and vice president of convention sales and marketing at the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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