Doug Neilson, president and CEO of Milwaukee's convention and visitors bureau, VISIT Milwaukee, will resign his post effective Dec. 31, 2009, when his current contract expires, the CVB announced yesterday.
"During Doug's tenure, Milwaukee has seen unprecedented investment and growth in its tourism amenities," VISIT Milwaukee's Board Chair, Lynda Kohler, said in a statement. "Milwaukee is a better destination today for conventions, meetings and leisure travelers."
Neilson, who has been with the organization for eight years, joined VISIT Milwaukee—formerly the Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau—in 2001 after serving in an executive post with the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. Upon resigning, he plans to return to San Francisco in order to pursue new opportunities.
"It was a difficult decision to make because Milwaukee quickly became home for me and my family," Neilson said. "The warmth of this community is unbelievable. I'm really proud to have been part of the growth and vast improvement in all of the offerings we provide visitors, from the Midwest Airlines Center, restaurants, hotels, arts and cultural venues, Milwaukee is a terrific place to live and a great destination for tourism. It has truly been an honor to serve the community as CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. While I may be leaving, I'll always have a special place in my heart for Milwaukee."
According to Kohler, VISIT Milwaukee plans to form a search committee for finding Neilson's replacement soon.