Phillip Jones stepped down today after 15 years as president and CEO of VisitDallas.

VisitDallas today announced that Phillip Jones is stepping down as president and CEO of the agency as the result of “a mutual decision” reached between Jones and the board of directors during a board meeting today (Wednesday, May 8).

VisitDallas is the city’s convention and visitors bureau. The agency has worked closely with LGBT community leaders over the last decade to make the city a top destination for LGBT tourists, conventions and sporting events. VisitDallas is also a sponsor of Out North Texas, the LGBT visitors and relocation guide published each January by Dallas Voice/Voice Publishing Company.

Mark Woelffer, VisitDallas board chair, said in a press release that the agency will announce an interim CEO tomorrow (Thursday, May 9). He added that the board has already begun a search for someone to take over the job full time.

Woelffer said, “The board is thankful to Phillip for his 15 years of leadership and great career at VisitDallas,. We are proud of the work VisitDallas has accomplished during Phillip’s tenure to promote Dallas, which is now a top 10 destination nationally for meetings, conventions, sporting events and leisure travel.

“As Phillip has decided to pursue other opportunities, we wish him the very best,” he added.

Jones said, “It has been a privilege to lead VisitDallas during an important period of growth for the organization, and now it’s time for my next challenge. Together with my colleagues at VisitDallas, the city of Dallas and partners across the hospitality and tourism industry, we have positioned Dallas as the top visitor destination in Texas for meetings and events, and one of the top convention and visitor destinations in the nation. I’m proud of our accomplishments and know the organization is on track for continued success.”

Incoming board chair Joyce Williams praised Jones’ “positive contributions to Dallas [that] have been significant and lasting.”

Williams continued, “During Phillip’s tenure hotel room-night bookings increased five-fold; we moved from number 18 to number six on the country’s top visitor destination list; Dallas’ Tourism Public Improvement District was created, and Dallas was re-branded as a global destination.”

Jones “led the charge statewide to defeat the ‘Bathroom Bill’ not just once, but twice,” she added. “We wish Phillip well and look forward to continuing the great momentum as we welcome new leadership.”

Williams will lead the search committee to identify VisitDallas’ next leader. VisitDallas and Mayor Mike Rawlings will announce an interim CEO at a press conference Thursday at 11 a.m. at the VisitDallas office, 325 North St. Paul Street, Suite 700.