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New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau Named 2016 Board of Directors

Jim Cook, General Manager of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, serves as Chairman

NEW ORLEANS - In addition to being named a "World's Best City" by Travel + Leisure in 2015, New Orleans continues to earn accolades, including being named one of the "10 Best Food Cities in America" by The Washington Post and the number one "Best Family Getaway in America" by TripAdvisor. New Orleans is consistently recognized on these prestigious lists because of our culture and the authentic experiences provided to those who live here and visit, but also due to the effort of the tourism industry to sell, market, and promote the city. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) inducted its 2016 Board of Directors to be key leaders in the city's tourism industry. This esteemed group of business leaders provides the strategic direction for New Orleans' $6 billion tourism industry and advances the interests of the CVB's 1,100 members. Serving as chairman of the board is Jim Cook, the general manager of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. 

Jim Cook has served as general manager of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel since June of 2012. He joined Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in 1999 at the Sheraton Norfolk Hotel, and he then served as general manager of Starwood Hotels in: Virginia Beach, VA; Allentown, PA; and Hyannis, MA. Cook also served as hotel manager at the Sheraton Boston where he repositioned the hotel, returning it to its former status as one of the iconic hotels in the Sheraton Hotel portfolio. He later worked in the franchise division as senior director of operations for the Northeast region supporting a portfolio of 39 hotels across New England, New Jersey, and New York. Cook moved to New Orleans with his two daughters in June 2012 to manage the Sheraton New Orleans.

The 2016 Board of Directors Executive Committee:

  • Jim Cook, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel (Chairman of the Board)
  • Tod Chambers, The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel (Past Chair) 
  • Michael Smith, Hyatt Regency New Orleans (Chair Elect)
  • Darryl Berger, The Berger Company (Secretary)
  • Steve Pettus, Dickie Brennan & Company (Treasurer)
  • Greg Rusovich, Transoceanic Trading & Development (Assistant Treasurer)

At Large:

  • Mickal Adler, Coleman E. Adler & Sons
  • Iftikhar Ahmad, New Orleans International Airport
  • Don Allee, Port of New Orleans* 
  • Bonnie Boyd, BBC Destination Management
  • Robert Bray, New Orleans Marriott Hotel
  • Steve Caputo, Hotel Monteleone 
  • Katy Casbarian, Arnaud's Restaurant
  • Edgar Chase, Dooky Chase's Restaurant*
  • Aaron Dirks, Limousine Livery*
  • Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute 
  • Stan Harris, Louisiana Restaurant Association
  • Kathie Jacobs, Highpointe, Hotel Corporation* 
  • Octavio Mantilla, John Besh Restaurant Group
  • Irvin Mayfield, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
  • Melvin Rodrigue, Galatoire's
  • Paul Scott, New Orleans Hilton Riverside
  • Susan Taylor, New Orleans Museum of Art
  • David Teich, Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association*
  • Doug Thornton, LSED/SMG Superdome
  • David Villarrubia, Degas House

*Newly appointed for 2016
Headshots available for all board members upon request.

The Nominating Committee received nominations from the CVB members and selected board candidates based on their industry knowledge, experience and diversity. The slate was elected by the CVB's membership at the Annual Business Meeting held on December 10, 2015.

The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is a nationally accredited, 1,100-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. The CVB and its members influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose New Orleans through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding and visitor services at our New Orleans headquarters and offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago and four foreign countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrates its 56th anniversary in 2016. For more information, please visit;;