Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB), announced today that he will retire June 30, 2020.
Wooden began working with the company in 2013. Under his leadership, tourism in Los Angeles grew into a $37 billion industry, accounting for 534,000 jobs countywide—the highest on record. Los Angeles Tourism’s goal of welcoming 50 million visitors by 2020 was reached two years early, exemplifying just how far Wooden’s efforts have taken the organization.
He strengthened the organization’s presence in other locations, especially in China, where LATCB opened full-time offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Beijing, making Los Angeles the No. 1 U.S. city for Chinese travelers.
Starting out in the hospitality industry as a bellman, Wooden rose through the ranks to hold leadership positions at Omni, Sheraton and Hilton Hotels properties. At Hilton, Wooden was the senior vice president of operations and later became executive vice president of global brands. In 2015, Wooden was named to Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list and has also been a four-time honoree on Los Angeles Business Journal’s LA 500.
Wooden has been active in both the industry and his community, serving on numerous boards, including the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Travel’s Executive Committee. His involvement in the community includes sitting on the boards of the Organizing Committee, Executive Committee and Conflicts Committee for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Adam Burke, the organization’s chief operating officer for Los Angeles Tourism, will assume the role as the interim CEO upon Wooden’s leave.