DETROIT—It’s impossible to sum up the career of Larry Alexander, President and CEO of Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, in a single article.
Alexander, who recently announced that he will retire at the end of 2020, was the force behind the Detroit Sports Commission, which has attracted world-class sporting events including the Ryder Cup (2004) and Super Bowl XL (2006) to the city. He has brought major conventions to Detroit as well, ranging from the FIRST Robotics World Championships to the National Guard Association of the United States.
As the person behind the ad campaign, “Detroit, America’s Great Comeback City,” he helped boost both the city’s image and its visitor numbers. Not to mention the years he spent in the hotel industry, including becoming the first African American GM at Westin Hotels and Resorts when he was just 29 years old.
But when you ask Alexander what he’s most proud of, he points to the impact he has had on others through ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program, with which he has been involved for 19 years. “It’s always been my focus to make decisions that help improve people’s quality of life,” he told TSE, having just gotten off a Zoom call with more than 100 of the graduates, who were there to wish him well. “We provided training for individuals who, as a result, have taken on different roles all the way up to CEOs. Now it’s time for them to make their contribution back to the industry.”
When he retires at the end of December, Alexander looks forward to spending time with his wife of 32 years, Kitt, and his daughter, Carson. “Once COVID is done, we will get out and travel. My wife will keep me busy now that it’s her turn—don’t worry about that. I’m looking forward to the next chapter,” he added. “I can look back and say I have served well, humbly and with grace.”
Larry Alexander at (313) 202-1800 or lalexander@VisitDetroit.com.