by Lisa A. Grimaldi | September 08, 2015
According to Destination Marketing International, president and CEO Michael Gehrisch has announced he will end his 15-year tenure as president and CEO of the global association representing the destination marketing industry.
Gehrisch has led DMAI since the end of 2000 and is one of the most recognized hospitality association executives in the industry having previously served for a number of years as Executive Vice President of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and before that with Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

Gehrisch took the helm of the association, then known as IACVB, and repositioned the organization in 2005 as the Destination Marketing Association International, re-energizing and positioning DMAI as one of the world's leading hospitality associations. He led the rebranding effort, led the establishment of the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program and the significant growth of the Destination & Travel Foundation.

"We are thankful and appreciative of the leadership and significant contributions Michael has made during his tenure which have made a positive impact on the growth and respect of the destination marketing industry internationally. We wish him the best as he moves on to a new chapter in his life," said Bob Lander, Chairman of the DMAI Board of Directors and President and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Gehrisch, recognized by Successful Meetings as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People" in the meetings area, said, "This was a perfect time to turn over the leadership of the organization, leaving my successor with a healthy, prospering and influential position in the market place."

"Fifteen years in one organization is long enough for any association executive. My plans for the future include consulting with DMAI during the leadership transition, overseeing our family real estate investments, and pursuing hospitality related technology investments. My time leading DMAI has been one of the biggest highlights of my career," Gehrisch concluded.

In the interim, the Executive Committee will work in support of current DMAI COO, Charles Jeffers, to ensure the organization operates smoothly until a new CEO is selected. Additionally, the organization has a previously scheduled strategic planning session in October in Dallas with DMAI board and Destination & Travel Foundation trustees, as well as industry leaders that will jointly craft a plan going forward and determine the search process for a new CEO.

Lander said that he sees this interim period as a time of full engagement with the industry. "We want to have productive talks with key DMO stakeholders on the future of our association so that we enhance our relevancy to larger members and determine how we can best serve the interests of all DMOs. Times of transition provide an opportunity to redefine an organization, be inclusive and create a new way forward," Lander said. He added that he expects no immediate changes to DMAI programming or meetings.