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Hotel industry veteran Ernest "Ernie" Wooden Jr. has been named president and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LA Tourism) — formerly LA INC.
— the organization announced yesterday.
"Tourism is a cornerstone of the city's bright future given the many exciting developments on the horizon," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "Ernie has the industry experience and knowledge to help us grow our convention and tourism business — ensuring Los Angeles is a leading destination of choice for visitors from around the world for years to come."
A Los Angeles resident since 1999, Wooden previously served as executive vice president of global brand management for Hilton Hotels Corp. Currently, he is CEO of Creative Consulting, a hotel consulting practice, prior to which he was executive vice president and senior managing director at Alagem Capital Group, a privately owned investment group that owns the Beverly Hilton Hotel. He succeeds former LA Tourism head Mark Liberman, who announced his retirement last May having served as president and CEO since 2003.
"At the helm of our tourism engine, Mark successfully steered our industry through and out of the recession to enjoy record highs, including record-breaking hotel occupancy this year on our way to another projected record-high visitation year. I have enjoyed working closely with Mark and congratulate him on his successes over the years," said LA Tourism Chairman Tom Mullen. "Moving forward, we are very pleased to welcome someone with Ernie's depth of global hospitality branding and operations experience. He is known in the industry for building relationships and driving business results, and we look forward to working with him to capitalize on the momentum our tourism industry is enjoying."