J. Stephen Perry
President and CEO
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
Mr. Perry has won many national accolades for his work immediately following Hurricane Katrina in rebuilding tourism in New Orleans, becoming a regular guest on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg News, Fox News, NBC evening News and other national news outlets. He has been featured on the cover and in leading articles in many national trade publications. Under his leadership during the BP oil spill, New Orleans ended 2010 as the number one destination in the country for REVPAR growth (a measure of hotel industry success.) in 2012, under his leadership, New Orleans lead the continental United States in REVPAR growth.
Mr. Perry served for several years as a board member and a one-year term as Chairman of the Board for Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). DMAI is the international governing body of convention and visitor bureaus, dedicated to improving the effectiveness of 2,800 professionals from nearly 650 destination marketing organizations in 30 countries.
In 2010, Mr. Perry became one of only two urban destination CEOs in the country selected by the Obama Administration to serve on his first 29-person U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and advise the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary and the White House Staff and President of the United States on all key matters relating to national travel and tourism policy. Mr. Perry completed three full terms under two administrations on the board.
Mr. Perry also served on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in 2008 under the Bush Administration and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and is one of only two members asked to continue service with the Obama Administration board.
Through Perry's service with DMAI, U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, New Orleans has unprecedented representation in national travel and tourism matters. Perry not only has an opportunity to shape national travel policy, but to advance the cause of New Orleans, its assets, its attractiveness and value as a destination and as a center of best practices, and affords him routine contact with some of the Crescent City's most important customers and partners. Through his participation on these major panels, the New Orleans brand is placed front and center in American tourism.
In July 2011, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Mr. Perry to the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors. The board oversees the LSU System in the development of academic and professional programs of instruction, research, and public service, management of two medical schools and the LSU Law Center, the LSU AgCenter, the Health Sciences Center. Mr. Perry also serves on the Board of Directors for the Audubon Nature Institute and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Perry served as Chief of Staff to Governor M.J. Foster from the time of his election in November 1995 until August 2002. As Chief of Staff to the Governor in Foster's Administration, Perry was responsible for direct management oversight of all state departments and agencies. All cabinet secretaries and heads of agencies reported directly to him and ultimately to the governor. Finally, Perry served as the lead architect of public policy for the Foster administration and drove the design and implementation of many far-reaching policy and management reforms.
Perry also served as Higher Education Advisor to the Governor and was recognized in the legislature and around Louisiana as a fierce advocate for the needs of higher education and the agenda of Louisiana State University. Perry was a leader in the recruitment of Chancellor Mark Emmert (now President of the N.C.A.A.), the establishment of the Flagship Agenda, and led the governor's efforts on multiple faculty pay raises, targeted investments in Centers of Excellence, funding previously unfunded mandates, exempting higher education from mid-year budget cuts, growing higher education funding considerably and providing a high level of investment to LSU and higher education in the capital outlay and building process. Perry also led a successful effort to invest over $100 million in deferred maintenance and new technology infrastructure for all universities.
Mr. Perry was the primary driver of the state's efforts and lead negotiator in the 2001 ten-year retention negotiations with the New Orleans Saints, the recruitment, attraction, and relocation of the New Orleans Hornets N.B.A. team, and the building of the P.G.A. Tour Tournament Players Club in Greater New Orleans, which is the site of the Zurich Classic on the P.G.A. Tour.
Perry holds B.A. degrees in History from LSU, studied twice in the Soviet Union, received an M.A. in Anthropology from LSU, and he completed the Senior Executives Program in State and Local Government offered by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.