Julie Coker has informed the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors that she will be leaving her post as president and CEO to take over the same position at the San Diego Tourism Authority. Coker has been head of the PHLCVB since January 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 well positioned for future success. The staff will continue to win business on behalf of Philadelphia, and throughout this transition will remain focused 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."
Coker took the helm of the PHCVB just as the city was preparing for a dauntingly busy summer that featured eight citywide conventions, two large sporting events and the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Her first job at the CVB, after more than two decades working on the hotel side, was as senior vice president of convention sales. She then spent a few years as executive vice president before taking on the top job.
"Serving as the president and CEO of the PHLCVB has been a highlight of my career," Coker said. "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, the city of Philadelphia and the talented team at the PHLCVB for the amazing experiences and successes we've accomplished together throughout my nine years with the Bureau."
The PHLCVB board of directors already has approved the activation of a search committee and a firm to aid the replacement process. John McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and a PHLCVB board member, will serve as chair of the search committee. SearchWide Global, a national executive recruitment firm specializing in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on executive-level positions, will conduct the national search.