Linsey Simpson Gallagher has been named president of Visit Napa Valley, effective Feb. 4, according to the tourism bureau.
Gallagher will assume the role following a search that began in the summer after Clay Gregory, longtime president and CEO, announced plans to relinquish duties as president. He will remain CEO.
Gallagher will report to Gregory, who is coming up on 10 years at Visit Napa Valley, which has stated an annual budget of $7.8 million for fiscal year 2019. The two will begin working on the organization’s plan for fiscal year 2020-2023.
“Linsey joins us after 10 years in a senior leadership position at the California Wine Institute, and has strong relationships with key stakeholders and partners, including Visit California and the Napa Valley Vintners,” Gregory said in a statement. “I am confident that Linsey will be an excellent leader for our team as we enter into a new decade strategically promoting the Napa Valley as one of the world’s premier destinations and positioning tourism as a long-term community partner.”
In Visit Napa Valley’s fiscal 2017–2019 long-range plan presented to the board of directors in June 2016, Gregory included the need to create a succession plan for leadership, the tourism bureau previously told the Business Journal.
The search for a new president began in June.
Gallagher most recently served for 10 years as vice president, international marketing, at the California Wine Institute, a membership-based advocacy and public-policy association that represents 1,000 wineries and related business throughout the state, according to its website. In that role, she was responsible for the state’s wine-export program; overseeing collaborative efforts with Visit California, the state’s marketing organization; and leading an international team of 25, plus four employees at the institute’s San Francisco headquarters, according to Visit Napa Valley.
“My work with the California Wine Institute has helped grow California wine exports by nearly 80 percent, to more than $1.5 billion, with our wines being shipped to 125 countries throughout the world,” Gallagher said in a statement. “I look forward to promoting and protecting this beautiful valley by acting as a steward of the Napa Valley brand, and am honored that Clay and the Board of Directors have entrusted me with this opportunity.”
Earlier in her career, Gallagher served for two years as vice president of regional development for Simpson Development Corporation, a real estate developer with offices in Norwich, Vermont; and Naples, Florida. From 2002 to 2006, Gallagher worked at E. & J. Gallo Winery, where she was responsible for marketing strategy and brand execution for several import and domestic brands. Before that, she served as manager of finance for the NBC Today Show and as a financial analyst for General Electric Capital Services.
Gallagher earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and her MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She lives in Napa with her husband and two young children.