The Georgia Aquarium names new Chairman & CEO

October 10,2014

CAP Member, The Georgia Aquarium is getting a new CEO. The Atlanta attraction announced Thursday that hospitality executive Mike Leven will become chairman and CEO on Jan. 1. Atlanta philanthropist Bernie Marcus, the Aquarium's founder and chairman, will become chairman emeritus.

David Kimmel, who has served as president since 2010, and led all major construction of the facility for the past 12 years, has stepped down.

“Mike Leven was CEO of the Aquarium in 2008-2009 and proved to be a great leader with full and complete confidence of the staff and the Board,” Marcus said in a statement. “He left for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead Las Vegas Sands Corporation as president.” Leven will retire from the company when his contract expires at the end of this year.

“Mike returns to us at an exciting time, as we plan the Aquarium’s tenth anniversary in 2015, and as we open a new and entertaining SunTrust Georgia Explorer gallery late in the year,” Marcus said in a statement. “Mike will fulfill all his responsibilities for Las Vegas Sands through the end of this year and then kick off 2015 with us.”

Leven previously served as vice-chairman of The Marcus Foundation. He is a hospitality industry veteran who was previously president and CEO of US Franchise Systems Inc., the company he founded in 1995; president and COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide; president of Days Inn of America, and president of Americana Hotels.

In a statement, Marcus said, “I am ready to give full control of the Aquarium to Mike and the senior management team, which will remain in place. It is time for me to move on from active management to my next level of involvement as chairman emeritus. Mike has remained on the Aquarium Board while he was in Las Vegas, so his return should be seamless.”

-Courtesy, Atlanta Business Chronicle