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Visit Winston-Salem President Announces Retirement and National Search

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina— After 13 years leading Visit Winston-Salem in North Carolina, President Richard Geiger recently announced to the Forsyth County Tourism Development Authority (FCTDA) Board that he plans to retire June 30, 2023.

To ensure a smooth and seamless transition, the FCTDA board has approved the creation of a search committee and the hiring of Searchwide Global, an executive search firm specializing in the travel and tourism industry to lead the recruitment of Geiger’s replacement. The national search began on January 2.

“While retirement is a natural stage in an organization, we have appreciated and will miss Rich’s vision and leadership,” said Dana Lu Bryson, chair of the FCTDA board. “He has been a strong leader of Visit Winston-Salem, an advocate for our community for more than a decade and a well-respected force throughout the tourism industry for more than 40 years.

“His dedication and keen insight enables and guides us in our search for a new leader for Visit Winston-Salem and our hospitality community,” Bryson added.

“It has been my honor to lead Visit Winston-Salem and be a strong advocate for the hospitality industry for this community,” Geiger said. “We have weathered a few storms, but I’m proud to say, we have persevered and together have solidified a flourishing and vibrant hospitality industry with a bright future.”

Geiger has held the top convention sales and marketing position for the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau and was CEO at the Buffalo/Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau, where his responsibilities included managing the convention center, sports corporation and film commission.

In February 2010, Geiger became president of Visit Winston-Salem. Visit Winston-Salem has a team of 17 full-time staff and a $5 million budget. Its mission is to promote and market greater Winston-Salem as a visitor destination for the economic benefit of the community.

Under his direction, Visit Winston-Salem developed and implemented a strategic destination marketing campaign, which has successfully bolstered the destination’s brand awareness and increased overnight visitation.

Geiger also implemented a sales strategy that has driven a steady increase in conventions, meetings and sporting events in Winston-Salem. A strong advocate for improving downtown Winston-Salem, Geiger serves on the boards of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Geiger’s most notable accomplishment during his tenure at Visit Winston-Salem was as a member of the committee that spearheaded a $20 million renovation of the Benton Convention Center.

Geiger has won numerous travel industry awards and accolades, including being named Executive of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America (Buffalo/Niagara Chapter) and Sales Executive of the Year by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Geiger has served on the Destinations International Board, and he now actively serves on the boards of the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition and North Carolina Travel Industry Association.

For more information about Visit Winston-Salem, go to