Visit Napa Valley, the county’s official tourism agency, announced March 18 that longtime President and CEO Clay Gregory will retire, effective May 1. Linsey Gallagher, who took the helm as president on Feb. 4, will also assume the CEO role, according to the announcement.
Gregory, who joined the organization 10 years ago, announced Nov. 21 that he would be stepping aside as president and retaining his position as CEO. It was also announced at that time that a search had begun in June for a new president.
In the 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 agency has an annual budget of $7.8 million for fiscal year 2019, the agency told the Business Journal in January.
“The Board and I are pleased with the smooth and successful transition of Linsey Gallagher into the leadership role,” Gregory said in the new announcement. “As we draft the fiscal year 2020-2023 long-range plan, I am extremely confident in her stewardship of the Napa Valley as a desired visitor destination and community partner for the next 10 years.”
Don Shindle, chairman of the organization's board of directors, as well as Napa Valley Tourism Corporation and general manager of the Westin Verasa Napa, expressed general gratitude for Gregory's leadership.
“Clay has been instrumental in the creation of the current funding structure and ongoing maturation of Visit Napa Valley over the past 10 years,” he said in a statement.
Shindle previously noted Gregory’s accomplishments with the organization include championing the tourism improvement district funding structure in 2009 and helping subsequent growth of sales and marketing activities to strategically promote the valley to visitors.
Gregory’s career in Napa Valley began in 1989, when he joined Robert Mondavi Winery, where he served for 14 years as general manager. He went on to work for more than five years as president at Jackson Family Wines before joining Visit Napa Valley in July 2009.
Also next month, the group will mark 10 years as the official destination-marketing organization for the Napa Valley, under its current structure. Tourism is Napa County’s second-largest industry, generating more than $1.92 billion in annual spending, providing economic, cultural and civic benefits that improve the quality of life for Napa County residents and business owners, according to the announcement.