After 15 years in the position, Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Bob Doak announced his retirement Friday.
Doak will continue in his role through February to assist in the transition, according to a news release.
The executive committee is following the bylaws of the CVB in putting together the transition process for a new CEO. Officials will announce more details about that soon, Chairman Tom Cupo said in a prepared statement.
Doak said after more than 35 years in the tourism and hospitality industry that he is looking forward to being a tourist and an advocate for Chattanooga.
“For the last 15 years while leading the CVB, I have had the opportunity to work with an excellent team, tourism partners, supportive mayors, and county, city and civic leaders in making tourism a vital component in elevating Chattanooga as a place to visit, work and live,” he said in a prepared statement.
He also said:
Chattanooga has become a thriving, vibrant city, and I am humbled to be part of that process. It has been a pleasure bringing millions of visitors from around the world to Chattanooga. The economic impact of tourism has doubled to over $1 billion during my 15-year tenure with the CVB. As a community, we have seen the investments in new hotels, restaurants and attractions. As residents, we enjoy the economic benefits from tourism. It can be a job in the industry or more variety in entertainment, all of which adds to our quality of life.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said the CVB has provided focus, direction and leadership to make tourism and hospitality a centerpiece of the community.
“We are fortunate to have great natural resources and the vision of those involved in selling Chattanooga and Hamilton County,” Coppinger said in a prepared statement. “With the leadership of Bob Doak, the CVB has invested in telling and selling our message, and generated over a $1 billion return on the investment.”
Cupo also outlined these achievements that Doak has been a part of:
- Annual tourism spending exceeds $1.1 billion
- Annual visitors are approximately 3.5 million
- Annual state tax collections are $63 million
- Annual local sales tax collections are $24 million, with $12 million going directly to Hamilton County public schools
- 140 supported events with $92 million economic impact in 2017–2018
- 2.5 million website visits per year
Doak was recognized in 2016 as the Tennessee Tourism Professional of the Year at the Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism, according to a news release. This career achievement recognition is voted on by industry peers.
Prior to his service as president and CEO of the CVB, Doak was on the executive committee for six years and spent two years as chair.
“The CVB under Bob’s leadership has placed Chattanooga on the map as a place to come, visit and enjoy the experience,” former Chattanooga Mayor Jon Kinsey said in a prepared statement. “I understand the need to fill hotel rooms and restaurants, and today, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of new investments in both of these businesses.”