CEO of Metro Detroit visitors bureau to retire at year's end

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Vistors Bureau, will retire at the end of 2020, the organization said Wednesday.

Alexander has been in a leader in the bureau for the past 22 years, helping to further the region's economic transformation and spotlighting Detroit's resurgence. He oversaw extensive renovations to the TCF Center and the launch of the "America's Great Comeback City" campaign in 2012 to boost tourism. He also boosted efforts to attract large conventions and major competitive events to one of America's biggest sports cities.

Larry Alexander, CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, is set to retire at the end of 2020.

“When it comes to attracting conventions and visitors, at one time Larry had one of the most challenging jobs in the country and in the tough times he was there with creative strategies and steadfast advocacy for our community,” Marla Drutz, chairman of the visitors bureau's board of directors, said in a statement. “As Detroit began its rebound, Larry was always one step ahead in presenting metro Detroit as a phenomenal location for events and visitors."

Alexander established the Detroit Sports Commission to attract more sporting events to the city. In addition to Detroit securing the Super Bowl in 2006 and the 2009 NCAA Men's Final Four, the commission helped land several Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games as well as the 2008 Women's International Bowling Congress. It also contributed to the successful bid of the 2005 MLB All-Star Game and 2004 Ryder Cup.

He also led the team that attracted the 2015 American Society of Association Executives convention to the city and steered successful bids for events with FIRST Robotics, the NAACP, the National Society of Black Engineers and more.

In 2009, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Alexander to the five-member Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority that lead the TCF Center, formerly known as Cobo. In addition to overseeing the center's transformation and enlargement in 2015, Alexander has helped to increase revenue by more than five times since 2010 and repay bonds early, saving Michigan taxpayers $108 million. Alexander will continue in his role on the board.

Prior to joining the bureau, he held leadership roles within Westin Hotels & Resorts, becoming the organization's first African American general manager at the age of 29.

In his remaining months in leadership, Alexander will guide the bureau through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble