Visit Topeka Bidding Farewell To CEO

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Visit Topeka's Board of Directors will not renew the contract of President and CEO Olivia Simmons.

Simmons says the board made the decision at its November 13th meeting and informed her afterward, but didn't announce it until Friday.

In a news release, board president Dean Patel said the board will immediately begin the search for a replacement. A phone call for further explanation on their vote was not returned Friday afternoon.

Simmons started at Visit Topeka in January 2009. Her contract ends December 31st.

She told 13 News she was surprised by the board's action. She says she was not given a reason for it.

Simmons says she's proud of the organization's accomplishments during her tenure, including attracting major conventions and sporting events and increasing motorcoach tour business at a time it was in decline. She's also proud of moving the organization's headquarters to a downtown location, increasing visibility and accessibility to visitors.

Simmons says she also feels the organization has been more successful in educating the public as to the value visitors bring to the community, generating bed tax and sales tax revenue that contributes to city services.

Simmons says she and her husband will take some time to consider their next move. She says they love Topeka and love the people and appreciate all the support they've received.