The Philadelphia CVB Board of Directors hired Gregg Caren as its new president and CEO, replacing Julie Coker, who accepted the position of president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority.
Caren, who will report June 8, most recently held the position of executive vice president, sales and strategic business development for venue and event management giant ASM Global, formerly named SMG before a merger with AEG in 2019. Caren worked for the company, which operates more than 350 meetings and events venues worldwide, for more than 20 years.
ASM Global is headquartered in the Philadelphia suburb of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and operates Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“Gregg brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership from many facets of our industry, including prior sales, marketing and operations experience working with convention centers, hotels and CVBs, both domestically and internationally,” said Nick DeBenedictis, chairman of the Philadelphia CVB (PHLCVB), in a news release. “He is familiar with our customers, our region and has been a close partner to the organization in his role at ASM Global, the operator of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“As we turn our attention towards recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are confident that Gregg will guide the PHLCVB toward future success on behalf of Philadelphia,” he added.
DeBenedictis also thanked outgoing CEO Julie Graham for extending her time at the bureau to help the city’s tourism and hospitality industry navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. DeBenedictis said Coker and Caren will work on a transition plan before Coker leaves for the top slot at the San Diego Tourism Authority May 28.
Caren will oversee the PHLCVB’s efforts promoting and selling the destination to meetings, conventions, sporting events, overseas travelers and group tour clients, as well as be the chief liaison between local tourism interests such as the Pennsylvania Convention Center, national industry associations and city government.
Caren has called the Philadelphia area his home for 25 years and said his affection for the city gives him great satisfaction in accepting the top job at the PHLCVB.
“Given the current state of affairs and my love for the Greater Philadelphia region, I also have a strong sense of civic responsibility,” Caren said in the announcement of his hiring. “The PHLCVB drives meaningful economic impact for our city and region. I’m truly looking forward to contributing to Philadelphia’s recovery efforts by leading the extremely talented team at the PHLCVB and working closely with the partners and stakeholders that help drive our tourism industry forward.”