Following an extensive search, Sonoma County Tourism has appointed tourism industry veteran Claudia Vecchio to the role of president and chief executive.
Vecchio replaces Ken Fischang, who stepped down in May.
She comes to Sonoma County from Nevada, where she was the director of the state’s tourism and cultural affairs department.
During her career, Vecchio has held multiple leadership roles in tourism organisations, serving as the state tourism director at the Ohio department of development, division of travel and tourism, and senior vice president overseeing the tourism group at Edelman PR in Chicago.
“Claudia has the energy and excitement to drive Sonoma County Tourism into record-breaking years,” said Joe Bartolomei, Sonoma County Tourism board chair.
“Her forward-thinking approach, out-of-the-box ideas and passion for the county give us great confidence as we move forward and share the message that wine country is open for business and ready to deliver the world-class experience that’s expected.”
Vecchio has long been a fan of, and visitor to, Sonoma County, having family in Bodega Bay.
“In addition to its extraordinary natural beauty, Sonoma County exudes an incredible spirit of independent thinking, creativity, and fortitude that truly sets it apart from any other destination,” said Vecchio.
“The truest sense of this spirit has been on full display during the recent fires.
“It’s a privilege to join a team and represent a countywide tourism industry that can come together through challenging times to not only support one another, but also to rally around and get the word out that we are open for business and ready to welcome visitors to Northern California.”
Sonoma County Tourism interim chief executive Tim Zahner has been named chief operating officer and will continue to oversee marketing and communications efforts for the organisation.