Local News

Jim Wood no longer leads the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The bureau announced Tuesday that Wood’s resignation was effective at a board meeting the same day. 

Wood has been the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s president and chief executive  for 11 years; a search for his replacement begins immediately, the bureau said.

The reason for his abrupt departure was not announced. We’ve left messages with a bureau spokeswoman and its board chairman, Michael Howerton, market vice president for the Louisville Marriott Downtown. We’ll update if they or others respond.

Howerton praised Wood’s “enthusiasm” and “innovative ideas” in a statement.

The bureau’s job is to improve tourism in Louisville. They work with businesses and other agencies to help attract trade shows, business meetings and leisure travelers. It’s financing comes from the bed tax and its board is appointed by Mayor Greg Fischer and Gov. Steve Beshear.

In a statement, Fischer said:  “The convention and tourism industry is a key driver of Louisville’s economy and our national and international image. Under Jim Wood’s leadership, both have grown significantly. Our city thanks him for his many years of service.”

In its announcement, the bureau noted Wood’s work in bringing the FFA show to Louisville and other initiatives.

During Wood’s tenure Louisville hosted numerous industry shows such as Religious Convention Management Association, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, Teams, CESSE, Rejuvenate Marketplace, National Association of Sports Commissions. Wood is also credited for bringing the Abbey Road on the River Beatles Festival which has met on the Belvedere for the past 9 years. Most recently Wood attracted the Louisville Jack O Lantern Spectacular to Louisville in partnership with Louisville Metro Parks and Louisville Metro Parks Foundation. Under Wood’s leadership the Bureau has helped promote many signature festivals and events, including ones that Wood recruited such as the nine-year Abbey Road on the River and the recent success of Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular.

Update: Wood left out of “desires to move onto the next opportunity,” said a bureau spokeswoman. She did not indicate what that next opportunity is.

The timetable for finding Wood’s replacement is 90 days.

Karen Williams will be the interim president and chief executive of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. She retired in 2012 after 23 years with the bureau, leaving as the executive vice president.