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Spurgeon Richardson Retiring as President and CEO of the Atlanta
Convention & Visitors Bureau; At the Helm for 17 Years

ATLANTA (March 4, 2008) – Spurgeon Richardson announced that he will retire as president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau at the end of the year. 
“It has been a fantastic 17 years at the helm of this ship and I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished as an industry,” Richardson said. “During my time at ACVB, Atlanta has grown to a world-class city and together we’ve grown Atlanta’s hospitality industry right alongside that.”
Under Richardson's leadership, the ACVB became one of the first bureaus in the country to develop a cultural tourism department, launch a destination Web site, begin a diversity marketing program, start a charitable foundation, implement a performance-based compensation system and to form a corporate development department, all of which have helped project Atlanta as a great destination city. 

Other highlights during his tenure include the 1996 Olympics, which placed the city in the global spotlight and fostered long-term growth, the various expansion phases of the Georgia World Congress Center, efforts to bolster the hospitality industry following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the current influx of boutique hotels and dramatic changes in the city’s dining scene.

Former ACVB Chairman and partner of Stormont Holding Group, LLC, Dick Stormont said, “We didn’t have the great hotels, great convention facilities and night life that we have now. It came out as a result of the demand that Spurgeon and his team created. He created the demand and enthusiasm and that built the business.” 

“One thing about Richardson that will be hard to replace is his ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with the governor, mayor, U.S. president or the smallest meeting planner and make them feel proud and important.”

Steve Smith, new ACVB chairman and vice president of government and community relations for Turner Broadcasting System, said Richardson will be tough to replace, but a job opening of this magnitude in one of the biggest cities in the country for conventions should prove to be a positive opportunity. Michael Robison, CEO of Lanier Parking Co. and a former ACVB chairman, will head an executive search committee for Smith and the board. Once committee members have been named, a national search will begin. 

Richardson envisions having someone who will focus on maintaining Atlanta as a top meeting and convention site, developing tourism and growing the city as a tourist destination, and fostering more international business. 

“I have a love, passion and enthusiasm for our industry and I love this city,” he said. “I have truly felt for 17 years that I have the best job in Atlanta.”
In addition to reading and traveling, Richardson looks forward to spending more time with his wife Mary Frances, three children and eight grandchildren. 
Established in 1913, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, nonprofit organization created to favorably impact the Atlanta economy through conventions and tourism.

Highlights of Richardson's Career

  • ACVB received more than 45 major industry awards.  
  • ACVB recognized with Meetings and Conventions magazine’s Gold Service Award for 16th year in a row and Corporate and Incentive Travel magazine’s Award of Excellence for 13th year in a row. 
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle once again included Richardson in their “Who’s Who in the Hospitality Industry” list 
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle selected Richardson as one of the “100 Most Influential Atlantans” 
  • Georgia Trend named Richardson as one of the state’s most influential Georgians for his dedication to Georgia’s tourism 
  • Georgia Society of Association Executives’ (GSAE) named Richardson as one of their 90 Movers and Shakers.
International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (IACVB)
  • Richardson served as Chair of the Board of Directors for IACVB in 2003-2004. 
  • Strengthened visibility of industry professionals by focusing efforts to integrate within the communities of travel and tourism, business and industry associations. 
  • London and Paris joined IACVB as a result of Richardson’s outreach, and under his leadership IACVB initiatives were brought to countries throughout the world. 
Corporate Development:
  • Richardson oversaw the creation of ACVB’s corporate development department, the first of its kind. The department oversees three signature events a year-the Annual Meeting, the Hospitality Hall of Fame and the Turkey Trot Invitational Golf Tournament.  
First Hospitality Hall of Fame
  • ACVB is the first CVB to have a Hospitality Hall of Fame, and 2007 marked its ninth year.
  • Honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the growth and well-being of the city with special emphasis on tourism and the travel and leisure marketplace. 
Brand Atlanta Campaign
  • Launched in Nov. 2005, the campaign plays a pivotal role in increasing the visibility of Atlanta’s destination appeal. ACVB laid the groundwork for the concept when hospitality leaders asked the city to take charge of a branding campaign for Atlanta. 
  • Campaign’s latest initiatives heavily involve new media and social networking as seen on and the ATL Insider blog.
First Diversity Marketing Program 
  • ACVB started the Diversity in the Hospitality Industry Summit in 1999 and is the only bureau in the country doing a program like this. 
  • Geared to the hospitality industry, this summit addresses opportunities to increase market share through the incorporation of diversity into marketing and sales efforts as well as tolerance in the workplace. 
Atlanta is a Top Meetings and Conventions Destination
  • Consistently ranked as one of the top five convention cities in the country
  • Repeated host city for the International Woodworking Fair and the International Poultry Expo
  • Selected as the site for the 2007 Tradeshow Week Fastest 50 and the 2009 International   Association for Exhibitions and Events Annual Meeting & Exhibition. 

Lauren Jarrell
Director, Communications
Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau 
233 Peachtree Street, NE 
Suite 1400 
Atlanta, GA 30303


Also See: Meeting Planners Complaining About Panhandlers in Downtown Atlanta; Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau Claims Panhandling Ordinance Not Being Enforced / August 2006
Big Topic at the International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus Annual Meeting was New Code of Ethics; Atlanta CVB Chief Spurgeon Richardson New Chairman / July 2003


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