Claude Molinari is president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DBA Visit Detroit), where he is responsible for developing the strategic direction and overseeing the operations of Visit Detroit and the Detroit Sports Commission.
Molinari provides the leadership and direction necessary to enable Visit Detroit to bring meetings, conventions, leisure and business visitors to metropolitan Detroit and to accelerate economic growth. He leads the creation of the annual sales and marketing plan which outlines Visit Detroit’s direction to attract tourism and meetings business to the region. He also oversees the development of the annual budget.
In his role overseeing the Detroit Sports Commission (a Visit Detroit subsidiary), Molinari leads a team responsible for securing amateur sporting events throughout the region.
Molinari came to Visit Detroit after a decade of leadership at Huntington Place, where he served as general manager from 2016 – 21 and assistant general manager from 2010 – 2016 of the 17th largest convention center in North America. His responsibilities there included developing a budget, forecasting and financing, and implementing safety, security and crisis management programs for the center. He also negotiated with local trade unions, developed business contingency, facility safety and emergency plans, and assures that annual budget were achieved.
Prior to leading the convention center, Molinari served five years as Regional Director of Operations for ASM Global overseeing (25) east coast facilities and while with the company, managed facilities in four different states. Molinari graduated summa cum laude from Point Park University with degrees in Public Administration.
Molinari was uniquely positioned to accept his new role as Visit Detroit president and CEO because of his understanding from the convention center position of the role tourism, meetings and conventions play as an economic driver in the region. He accepted the position at a challenging time for the industry as it deals with the impact of COVID-19.
Molinari serves as the Chair of the Board for the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority that oversees Huntington Place. He also is on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the Parade Company, Engineering Society of Detroit, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), Destinations International, and the US Travel Association. He is a USA Hockey official, Level III certified and selected to referee state and national playoff tournaments. He resides with his wife in Northville, Michigan.