Las Vegas – Manny Cortez, 65, President & CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA), announced his intention to retire effective July 2. The LVCVA board of directors will meet Tuesday, May 11th to lay out the search plan for his successor. The highly-coveted position is expected to draw interest from numerous internal and external candidates.
Cortez has been with the LVCVA since 1983, when he joined the organization’s board of directors. After serving as chairman from 1985 through 1990, he was named President.
Cortez quoted lyrics from Kenny Roger’s song The Gambler in his resignation letter to the LVCVA board: “You’ve got to know when to hold `em, know when to fold `em.”
Cortez has led the organization successfully through challenging times, including the effects of September 11th. During his tenure, the number of convention delegates in Las Vegas grew from 1.8 million to 5.7 million in 2003 and the room inventory blossomed from 76,879 to 130,482 (2003). Total visitor volume has grown from 21.3 million people to 35.5 million (2003) as the city has altered its image from strictly a gaming-oriented site to a first rate trade show/resort/ gaming destination. Last year, he joined 14 other industry leaders to serve on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board. A local elementary school was named in his honor in March 1999.
Cortez and the LVCVA feel the organization is well prepared to carry on. In an interview with The Las Vegas Review Journal, Cortez said, “I probably could hang on for a long time, but it’s time to move on. The team we’ve put together is going to run in spite of me, and frankly, the biggest thing I’ve had to do the last few years is find a way to stay out of the way and let them do their jobs.”