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Visit Tucson CEO leaving for Texas, search begins for replacement

Brent DeRaad, Visit Tucson’s President & CEO for the past nine years, announced his resignation today to become the head of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau in Texas.

DeRaad will remain on the job until Nov. 26. The Visit Tucson board of directors has begun a search for DeRaad’s replacement.

“My thanks to Brent for his many accomplishments at Visit Tucson,” said John Denker, Visit Tucson’s board chair, in a news release. “Under his leadership, Visit Tucson grew leisure, meetings and sports travel to our region by embracing and promoting what makes Tucson unique. 

“We also appreciate his deep involvement in several Tucson non-profits, along with his leadership on Arizona tourism issues. We wish him much success in Arlington.”

In his time heading up the Tucson tourism group, DeRaad served in leadership roles for the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association and Destination Marketing Association of the West (DMA West). He also served as a board member of both the Arizona Bowl college football bowl game, and of the Tucson Conquistadores, which stages the city’s annual PGA TOUR Champions event. He is also a member of the Arizona Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council.

During DeRaad's tenure, Visit Tucson was able to increase bed tax revenue, develop a 10-year tourism master plan, leverage the first American UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation,  helped restart Tucson’s film industry and was forced to navigate the numerous challenges of the pandemic era, the group said.

Visit Tucson’s board has named Felipe Garcia the organization’s interim president. Garcia has worked for Visit Tucson for 17 years, including serving as the company’s executive vice president for the past nine years.

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