Steve Hammond, president and CEO of Visit Sacramento, has announced that he will retire from the local marketing association at the end of June.
Under nearly 20 years of Hammond’s leadership, Visit Sacramento doubled in size and played a major role in promoting numerous landmark campaigns, including Sacramento’s farm-to-fork initiatives and the hugely popular Tower Bridge Dinner.
He also is credited with expanding Sacramento’s annual portfolio of convention visitors and raising the region’s profile in competition for major sports events, including the USA Track & Field national championships.
Officials said a national search for Hammond’s successor will be overseen by a special committee composed of Visit Sacramento’s board members and other leaders in the Sacramento community.
The board hopes to confirm the name of Hammond’s successor this spring.
The 67-year-old Hammond joined Visit Sacramento in 1999 after serving in management roles at the Long Beach and San Jose convention and visitors bureaus, as well as several major airlines.
Since his arrival, Visit Sacramento’s annual operating budget has grown from $2.2 million to more than $11 million, and the staff has doubled in size to more than 40 sales and marketing professionals.
Hammond said Friday that he would be in “full retirement mode” after June 30, adding that “there are some bucket list things” that he and his wife want to dig into this fall.
Noting that “there are certainly a lot of accomplishments” over nearly 20 years in Sacramento, Hammond said “at the top of the list is the growth that our organization has experienced … and with that the growth of Sacramento as a first-class visitor destination.”
“Steve has played a pivotal role in putting Sacramento on the map within the tourism industry,” said Visit Sacramento board Chairman Brian Larson, principal of Halo Hospitality. “Thanks to his leadership, he has created a sense of place that has laid a solid foundation to propel our convention and tourism business to the next level.”
Hammond was asked by the Visit Sacramento board in 2014 to extend his contract through 2017 to maintain continuity through the opening of Golden 1 Center downtown and other ongoing Sacramento projects.