George Fertitta Named CEO of NYC's New Marketing Operation

Will Lead Effort to Increase Tourism, Lure Big Events to Big Apple

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Aiming to improve New York's odds against other world capitals in the global competition to host big events and attract more visitors, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reorganizing the Big Apple's marketing operation and has named George Fertitta, chairman of Margeotes Fertitta Powell, to lead it.
New York is hoping to attract 50 million visitors a year, and George Fertitta has been named to lead the effort.
New York is hoping to attract 50 million visitors a year, and George Fertitta has been named to lead the effort.

Mr. Bloomberg announced today the merging of three entities -- NYC & Co., NYC Big Events and NYC Marketing -- into a single as-yet-unnamed organization that Mr. Fertitta will head as CEO.

The mayor's 'big plans'
The mayor hinted at his vision in January, during his State of the City address, saying that he wanted the three entities to work more closely together. Joseph Perello, who left his post as chief marketing officer of NYC Marketing on June 1, last month predicted Mr. Bloomberg had "big plans" for marketing the city.

The new agency will employ more than 100 people and operate with an annual budget of more than $22 million. In addition, Mr. Bloomberg has pledged to add $15 million annually to it for tourism promotion as part of an effort to attract 50 million visitors annually by the year 2015. In 2004, the most recent year for which figures are available, the city received 39.9 million visitors, according to NYC & Co., the city's convention and visitors bureau.

Mr. Bloomberg today named Maureen Reidy, current president-CEO of NYC Big Events, as the city's chief marketing officer. She will continue to run Big Events and also head NYC marketing.

Unified brand identity
In his new role, Mr. Fertitta, working with Ms. Reidy and NYC & Co.'s president-CEO, Cristyne L. Nicholas, will design an integration plan for the three entities; create a new corporate identity and organizational structure; and develop a plan for reaching the 50 million visitor goal. He will also oversee the creation of a unified brand identity for the city as well as the creation of an integrated marketing campaign for it.

NYC Big Events began in 2002 with the mission of attracting high-profile events to the city as well as developing new business opportunities in the events and promotions. NYC Marketing was created in 2003 to promote New York globally and to centrally manage the city's brand and marketing assets.

Mr. Perello, the former NYC Marketing CMO, has moved to the health and nutrition division of Masterfoods USA, now called Mars.

Founded agency 33 years ago
Mr. Fertitta co-founded his agency 33 years ago and has worked for clients including Campbell Soup Co., Godiva Chocolatier, McGraw-Hill and Bacardi. In 1998 he sold a majority stake in his firm, then called Margeotes/Fertitta and Partners. MDC now owns the majority of the firm, now called Margeotes Fertitta Powell. Mr. Fertitta will no longer be associated with the agency.
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