Julie Coker to leave Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Julie Coker (photo provided)

Julie Coker (photo provided)

This story originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.

Julie Coker is moving on after four years of leading the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She is resigning in March to accept a position as president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

“Serving as the president and CEO of the PHLCVB has been a highlight of my career,” Coker said in a news release.

“This was an incredibly tough decision but the opportunity to round-out my skillset by leading a premier West Coast destination was something I had to explore. I am deeply grateful to our board of directors and the entire team at the PHLCVB for the amazing experiences and successes we’ve accomplished together throughout my nine years with the Bureau.”

She has served as president and CEO of Philadelphia’s official tourism promotion agency since January of 2016.

“We thank Julie for the significant contributions that she’s made during her tenure,” said PHLCVB Chairman Nick DeBenedictis.

“Julie has built a strong team and the PHLCVB is positioned for future success. The staff will continue to win business on behalf of Philadelphia and throughout this transition will remain focuses on achieving their strategic goals. The board and I are committed to finding an outstanding candidate that can successfully lead the talented and dedicated team at the PHLCVB.”

The process to find a new leader is underway. Friday morning, the Administrative Committee of the PHLCVB Board of Directors accepted Coker’s resignation and approved the activation of a search committee and firm.

John McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and PHLCVB board member, will serve as search committee chairman. Searchwide Global, a national executive recruitment firm specializing in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on executive level positions, has been contracted to conduct the national search.

Coker joined the PHLCVB after serving as general manager at Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing. She is a 20-year Hyatt veteran who began her career in 1989 as a corporate management trainee at Hyatt Regency Columbus and held various positions at the hotel until 1992.

Tourism is one of the city’s fastest and largest growing employment sectors, supporting 73,000 hospitality related jobs in Philadelphia county alone. PHLCVB’s team helps provide opportunities for work for thousands of Philadelphians by securing many of the country’s top meetings, conventions and events and in growing overseas visitation.

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