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Gatlinburg CVB Gains New CEO, Former CEO to Head Up Smokies Ski Resort

GATLINBURG, Tennessee— The former head of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau has been hired to lead Tennessee’s only ski resort, and a new CEO has taken the helm at the Gatlinburg CVB.

The CVB’s board of directors promoted Chad Netherland to president and CEO, a role he’s been in since August 1. For the past 10 years, Netherland has served as the CVB’s vice president of marketing and public relations. He was chosen from among 70 applicants provided by a collaborative partnership between the Gatlinburg CVB and SearchWide Global.

Prior to joining the CVB, Netherland worked for Ripley Entertainment, the fifth-largest attraction company in the world. Netherland served as executive director of The Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota, marketing director and general manager of four Ripley’s attractions in Myrtle Beach and as regional director of marketing that included seven Gatlinburg attractions. He also promoted Ripley’s Believe It or Not! through national PR campaigns and television appearances.

“I am honored and excited to continue my journey with such an amazing organization,” Netherland said. “I am looking forward to the future with one of America’s premier travel destinations.”

In his new role, Netherland will oversee the day-to-day operations of marketing, sales, finance, the convention center, visitor services and the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce.

Gatlinburg CVB’s former president and CEO is also on the move. In October, a group of East Tennessee entrepreneurs bought Ober Gatlinburg, a ski resort and amusement park located in the Smoky Mountains, according to a news release.

The local group, which includes the families of Joe Baker, Cory Cottongim and Chuck Edwards, bought the destination resort for an undisclosed amount. Baker and his wife, Jessi, founded Ole Smoky Distillery in 2010, followed by Yee-Haw Brewing in 2016.

The new ownership group hired former Gatlinburg CVB president and CEO Mark Adams to step in as Ober Gatlinburg’s new president and CEO.

“Having led the convention and visitors bureau in Gatlinburg over the past five years, I know firsthand how special Gatlinburg is as a premier travel destination,” Adams said. “I am so excited for the opportunity to build on Ober’s rich history and lead the Ober family for years to come.”

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