CW Foundation president steps down from board

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February 23, 2008

4:35 PM

Colin G. Campbell, CEO and president of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, is leaving his position as chairman of the Board of Trustees for the CWF. Richard G. Tilghman has been chosen as his successor. Campbell is also looking for his replacement as CEO of the foundation.

p. Tilghman will be taking the position as chairman of the board immediately. Previously, he had a leadership role as the vice chairman of the board, a position he acquired in 2000. He has been a board member since 1994.

p. The change in leadership is occurring at an opportune time for Campbell. The celebrations for the 400-year anniversary of Jamestown, including highlights such as a visit from Queen Elizabeth II of England, have ended, allowing for Campbell to exit during a relatively quiet interlude.

p. “It’s time to have a succession plan in place,” Campbell said in an interview with the Daily Press.

p. Campbell became the chairman of CWF in 1998, two years before he took on the additional roles of president and CEO. Under his leadership, Colonial Williamsburg added and expanded many of its programs for visitors. The Revolutionary City program, an interactive experience that takes place in the streets and buildings of the historic area, was added to entice people looking for a more personal connection with history.

p. In 2006, a new conference center was built to allow for larger conventions to occur in Williamsburg. In addition to the conference center, a new spa was built as part of the Colonial Williamsburg resort to offer services to customers who are interested in more than the history of the area.

p. Campbell explained some of the future goals of CWF to the Daily Press, saying that most of its focus will be on getting visitors to stay longer in Colonial Williamsburg and to spend more money.
“We need to increase revenue from visitation — broadly defined,”
Campbell said. “All of the aspects of visitation are important to increasing revenue.”

p. Colonial Williamsburg is in the process of recovering from a sharp drop in visitors earlier in the decade. According to figures in the Daily Press, paid visitation dropped from 983,000 visitors in 1998 to 708,000 visitors in 2004. However, due to some of the changes implemented, visitation is climbing again and was up to 780,000 visitors in 2007. Last year was also financially strong for Colonial Williamsburg, allowing CWF to pay back some of its debts from the new buildings.

p. CWF has formed a committee to help Campbell find a replacement as CEO. The search committee will be comprised of six board members. A consulting firm will also be helping them make their decision on the new CEO.

p. There is no date set for Campbell to step down as CEO. He plans to stay until an appropriate replacement is selected.

p. “I made it very clear that I’m here until there’s been a candidate chosen and a reasonable amount of transition,” Campbell said.

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