The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, the official CVB representing Music City, announced that its longtime leader Butch Spyridon will retire on July 1.
Spyridon has spearheaded the organization since 1991, and has held the dual title of president and CEO since 2003. During his 32 years of leadership, Nashville's tourism industry has grown into an $8.8 billion business, with a record-breaking 9.5 million room nights sold in 2022. In fact, Davidson County usually accounts for 30 percent of total visitor spending in the state.
"It is hard to imagine anyone else who has shaped Nashville's growth and success as much as Butch, from branding it as Music City, to making it attractive to professional sports teams and corporate relocations, to elevating the quality of life by drawing world-class events, restaurants, retail and hotels," said Kevin P. Lavender, head of commercial banking at Fifth Third Bank, who currently serves as chairman of the NCVC board of directors. "Butch has nurtured the city's creative culture, preserved the authenticity of our music brand and worked every day to make Nashville a better version of itself. We should all be eternally grateful to the legacy he will leave behind."
During his tenure, Spyridon also served on the executive committee of the U.S. Travel Association and as chair of Destinations International. In 2022, he was inducted into the Events Industry Council's Hall of Leaders, a lifetime achievement award that honors those who have helped shaped the meetings and travel industry.
Upon his retirement on July 1, Spyridon will transition into a strategic consultant role with a two-year contract. He will focus on bringing more nonstop international flights to the city's airport and recruiting major global events, such as the Rugby World Cup. If plans for an enclosed stadium are approved, he also will work on bidding for the Super Bowl.
"As I begin to reflect on my tenure, without question, my greatest professional accomplishment is the team we have assembled at the NCVC," said Spyridon. "They are second to none. I will treasure every moment as we work together these next six months. And anyone who knows me knows I won't be slowing down."
According to the press release, the NCVC board has long been preparing for Spyridon's retirement and developed a strategic succession plan several years ago. Under the plan, Deana Ivey was promoted to president in January 2022, and will succeed Spyridon upon his retirement. Ivey has served the CVB for 25 years, previously holding the positions of executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
"I am honored and humbled that I will be stepping into this new role this summer," Ivey said. "Everyone knows Butch has big shoes to fill, and I appreciate the faith the board and Butch have placed in me. I look forward to continuing the work of the NCVC and the hospitality industry as we sell and market the best destination in the world."