Claude Molinari, the general manager of Detroit’s TCF Center, has been named president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. The position will take effect January 1, 2021. Molinari will succeed longtime President and CEO Larry Alexander, who will retire at year’s end after 22 years leading the bureau.
In his new position, Molinari will also oversee the direction of the Detroit Sports Commission, which is responsible for attracting amateur sports events to the region. In his overall role at the bureau, Molinari will be responsible for developing the strategic direction and overseeing the operations of the DMCVB and will lead the creation of the bureaus’ annual sales and marketing to attract tourism and meetings business to the region.
In his current role at TCF Center, Molinari manages the day-to-day operation and business development of the 17th largest convention center in North America.
“Claude is uniquely positioned to accept this new role,” said Christina Lovio-George, chairman of the search committee and DMCVB board member. “He knows the DMCVB business, he understands the role of tourism, meetings and conventions as an economic driver in the region, and he intimately understands the challenges the tourism and hospitality industry are facing now as it deals with the impact of COVID-19.”
Molinari, who emerged from among 14 candidates, will be just the 10th person to serve as CEO for the DMCVB, which will celebrate its 125th year in 2021.
“Looking toward the future, Claude’s deep understanding of the vital role the TCF Center plays in the overall economic health of the entire Detroit region will be invaluable as the partnership grows to new levels,” said Alexander, who will retain his position as chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority.
Molinari began at TCF Center when it was the formerly known as Cobo Center. He served as assistant general manager from 2011–2016 with oversight of operations, security, events and production services and union labor services. He was named general manager in March 2016 by SMG/ASM Global. Molinari is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers, International Association of Events and Exhibitions and also serves as a Level III-certified official for USA Hockey, where he is a referee for state and national playoff tournaments.