LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board has hired Chris Heywood as SVP of global communications.
Heywood is relocating with his family from New York to Los Angeles for the role, which he is set to start on November 2. He will report to CMO Don Skeoch.
The last person to lead comms for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board was Lauren Salisbury, who was senior director of global communications. She left the organization this month to join mobile shopping experience company Super to lead PR.
Skeoch said that the comms role was elevated to SVP because a senior-level executive would be required “given [Salisbury’s] departure as well as the rapid recovery of tourism in Los Angeles.”
Heywood will lead global comms for the organization, including domestic PR, international PR and corporate comms. He will oversee a team of three people and plans to hire a director of corporate comms. Heywood will also work closely with the organization’s PR agency partners, such as The Point PR in the U.S.
“We want to use PR and earned media as a vehicle to elevate Los Angeles to international visitors, because that is such a key component of the recovery,” said Heywood.
Los Angeles captured 85.4% of its pre-pandemic levels at the end of this past fiscal year ending June 2022, and is slated to recapture 97% of its visitor volume for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, Heywood said.
He is focused on elevating the city as a premier convention and meetings market. He is also promoting The Grand LA complex, a $1 billion, 15-years-in-the-making, two-tower mix of retail, a hotel and luxury residences.
“You may think you know Los Angeles, but there is so much there and it is truly a diverse, welcoming and world-class destination,” Heywood said.
Most recently, Heywood was NYC & Company’s EVP of global communications. In his position at the official destination marketing organization for New York City’s five boroughs, Heywood helped tourism in New York City recover from the pandemic. He played an instrumental role in NYC & Company’s NYC Reawakens and NYC Welcomes Back Foreign Travel campaigns.
Heywood left the organization in June and he was replaced by Tiffany Townsend in August.
“Los Angeles and New York are very close and the tourism boards speak to one another, so there will be things we can do together down the road,” Heywood said.
Prior to his time as EVP, Heywood was NYC & Company’s SVP of global comms. He first joined the company in 2007 as a director.
This marks Heywood’s second stint at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. Earlier in his career, he worked there for eight years as manager of corporate communications.