Jonny Westom, since June 2015 the executive director of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau (SVVB), announced his departure to accept a new position as executive director of Visit Dana Point, California.

It will be a return to Southern California for Westom, who worked with the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau for over a decade before coming to Sonoma.

He will also resign his board positions with Sonoma County Tourism and the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance. Westom, his wife and young son are relocating in order to be closer their families, both of whom live in Southern California.

Gary Saperstein will serve as interim executive director, and with the SVVB board of directors begin the search for a replacement.

Westom and his family are leaving Sonoma shortly, but he will continue in an advisory role with the SVVB, to assist with making the integrated marketing strategy transition to a new executive director seamless.

“This is a very bittersweet announcement for me,” said Westom. “Sonoma Valley holds a very special place in my heart; my family and I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this extraordinary community. This was a very difficult decision, but ultimately it was driven by what I believe is best for my young family. It has been a true pleasure working and living in Sonoma Valley over the past two years.”

Westom, who has held the title of executive director for almost three years, led efforts to reorganize the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, furthered the destinations brand message and promotion, and led the tourism recovery efforts for the destination following the recent wildfires.

“Jonny is an asset to Sonoma Valley, and it is unfortunate that he will be departing our community,” said Gary Saperstein, SVVB board president and small business owner. “We appreciate all his hard work and what he has done for Sonoma Valley during his tenure. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors and we look forward to collaborating with him as an advisor to our bureau.”