Tim Roby Resigns from CCTB; Will Ring in the New Year with Starwood

DARLENE GUDEA, PUBLISHER & EDITOR
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Chicago, IL – Tim Roby, president & CEO of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau for the past four years, announced his resignation late yesterday afternoon, effective December 22. Roby will join Starwood Hotels & Resorts on January 3 as senior vice president of sales, North America and will be based in
Stamford, CT.

During Roby’s tenure at the CCTB, the historic and long-sought overhaul of union work rules at McCormick Place came into effect. Testifying before the Joint Committee on the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority last April, Roby spoke passionately about the need for reform. “Chicago is a world-class business city with a convenient, centralized location and boasts the largest convention facility in the country,” he said. “But having the best facilities, labor force, hotels, and restaurants means nothing if we can’t give our customers what they need. And from our customers’ perspective, what they need is a reduction in costs.”

He emphasized that Chicago’s visitor industry is a major economic engine for the city, region and state.  “For every public dollar invested in the CCTB, $23 is generated in taxes. Very few businesses can claim that high of a return on investment,” he pointed out. Roby indicated that the visitor industry is directly responsible for 132,000 jobs and $656 million in tax revenues. “Furthermore, every 1% increase in Chicago hotel occupancy will translate directly into an additional $5 million in state and local tax receipts and 1,000 new jobs.”

Following the adoption of new work rules, the National Restaurant Association was one of several major events to make a commitment to Chicago. The association signed a five-year agreement to keep its annual trade show in Chicago through 2016.

“Since joining the Bureau in April 2006, Tim has assembled an incredible team that will undoubtedly assist us greatly in our future efforts to promote Chicago as a global visitor destination,” said CCTB Chairman Bruce V. Rauner.  “Tim isn’t leaving Chicago behind entirely as he will continue to promote the city through his sales efforts with Starwood.”

Roby started his 23-year career in the hospitality industry with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, where he worked for 13 years at properties in Texas, Minnesota and California. Afterwards, he became vice president of sales for MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where he supervised the sales of the 5,005-room hotel as well as the MGM Grand Adventures theme park. Prior to joining the CCTB, he was senior vice president for Kerzner International Resorts Inc.

C CTB Chairman Rauner is backing Jack Johnson, the bureau’s vice president of external relations,  for  the role of interim CEO beginning on December 23. Johnson will work with the executive committee on the search for Roby’s successor.  Johnson has 25 years of experience in government and civic planning,  and spent half of that in various positions with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA). He was instrumental in leading the charge for McCormick Place legislative reform.on behalf of the MPEA and the CCTB.

Reach Tim Roby at (312) 567-8500 or troby@choosechicago.com