Karen Bolinger, CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), has departed after 7.5 years of service. Under her leadership, the bureau enjoyed its most successful years on record with the 18/19 period expected to deliver its highest ever economic contribution to the state of Victoria of almost $500mil (US$365mil).
Bolinger’s team developed the ‘Team Melbourne’ philosophy which helped drive the amalgamation of the academic and research sectors with the tourism sector to collaborate when bidding for conferences for Victoria.
Presently, ‘Team Melbourne’ has now evolved to city-wide collaboration across government, universities, research institutes, hotels, function venues and attractions, all which work together to secure business events for the state. On top of that, she sat on many boards and led the transition for MCB to become a part of Visit Victoria.
In February this year, she also called on leaders in the industry to take action to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace. Bolinger is one of the driving forces behind the Not In My Workplace (NIMW) initiative, a project to gather influential government and senior executives to address the issues of workplace harassment and abuse across all industries.
MCB told CEI that Julia Swanson will take over as acting CEO and she will report to Visit Victoria CEO Peter Bingeman. Swanson has been with MCB for close to nine years where she served as a general manager across several areas of the business. Prior to that, she was area director of sales and marketing VIC/SA/WA with InterContinental Hotels Group. Swanson will commence her role on 6 April. In the meantime, MCB will initiate a recruitment search for the ongoing CEO role.