By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Feb 26, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Doug Neilson, president & CEO of VISIT Milwaukee, has informed the executive committee of the board of directors that he intends to resign his post when his current contract ends Dec. 31.

Neilson joined VISIT Milwaukee (the former Greater Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau) in 2001 after serving in an executive post with the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Neilson plans to return to the San Francisco area to pursue new opportunities.

"During Doug's tenure, Milwaukee has seen unprecedented investment and growth in its tourism amenities," said Lynda Kohler, Visit Milwaukee's board chair. "Milwaukee is a better destination today for conventions, meetings and leisure travelers."

"It was a difficult decision to make because Milwaukee quickly became home for me and my family," said Neilson. "The warmth of this community is unbelievable. I'm really proud to have been part of the growth and vast improvement in all of the offerings we provide visitors, from the Midwest Airlines Center, restaurants, hotels, arts and cultural venues, Milwaukee is a terrific place to live and a great destination for tourism. It has truly been an honor to serve the community as CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. While I may be leaving, I'll always have a special place in my heart for Milwaukee!"

Kohler added that a search committee to find Neilson’s replacement will be formed from members of the executive committee and that the process will begin shortly.