After 25 years serving as president and CEO of Destination Madison, Deb Archer is retiring, the local tourism promotion organization announced Thursday.
Archer, 67, will be departing from her role at Destination Madison at the end of 2020 to focus on traveling with her husband and spending time with her first grandchild, Destination Madison said in a statement.
Since 1972, Destination Madison has promoted tourism in Madison, bringing major events to the city and finding other ways to draw visitors.
Over the last five years, visitor spending brought more than $6.3 billion to Dane county. More than 22,600 people worked in local hospitality and related industries in 2019, Destination Madison said.
“Deb Archer’s mark on Madison and Dane County will last far beyond her years leading Destination Madison,” Greg Frank, Destination Madison board chair, said in a statement.
Archer oversaw the formation of the Madison Area Sports Commission and helped stage Bucky on Parade, a fundraising project in which 85 life-size Bucky Badger statues accentuated by artists were placed around Madison and Dane County in 2018.
She also secured long-term contracts for IRONMAN and CrossFit to come to Madison, and helped keep WIAA Boys Basketball in Madison. Archer oversaw the hosting of many events during her tenure, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the World Stem Cell Summit and Congress for the New Urbanism.
“I came to Madison more than 25 years ago as a stranger. I’ve been embraced by this community and have been privileged that every day I get to share my love for Madison with guests from around the world,” Archer said. “I’m incredibly proud of the accomplishments our team has achieved through the years to help make Madison a top city for meetings, events and visitors.”
Frank said Archer was originally planning to leave earlier this year, but stayed on to guide the organization through the pandemic.
“We are forever grateful for her decision to lead us through this extremely tough year,” Frank said.
The Destination Madison Board has retained a search firm to conduct a national search for its next leader.
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