Rickey Thigpen has been named President and CEO of Visit Jackson, the city’s convention and tourism bureau.
The Visit Jackson Board voted to remove “Interim” from Thigpen’s title and to make him the official President. Thigpen’s interim tenure followed last October’s retirement of longtime President and CEO, Wanda Wilson.
“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve my hometown in this role,” Thigpen said. “The team at Visit Jackson is passionate about working with the tourism industry to execute strategies that will be transformative and impactful. It is a blessing to be in this place, at this time. Our collective ambition will yield results that will reward all of Jackson.”
Thigpen, a Jackson native, joined Visit Jackson in 1987 and has served in multiple management positions within the administrative and marketing disciplines, including more than fifteen years as the Executive Vice President of the destination marketing organization.
“Mr. Thigpen has hit the ground running and we have been very impressed with his leadership and ability to establish Visit Jackson as an industry leader,” said Robert Gibbs, Esq., Board Chair of Visit Jackson. “The Board feels very confident that he is more than qualified to lead Visit Jackson as both his practical and educational background have prepared him for this position. We look forward to working alongside him.”
Thigpen is a member of numerous professional and civic organizations, including Destination International, 100 Black Men of Jackson, Inc., Mississippi Valley State University National Alumni Association, Leadership Jackson Alumni Association (Board of Directors), Alpha Foundation, Inc., and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Professionally, Thigpen represents Visit Jackson and the Jackson Tourism Industry on numerous committees and commissions including the Mississippi Tourism Association (PAC) Board of Directors and the Governor’s Conference on Tourism Annual Meeting Planning Committee.
Thigpen holds a baccalaureate degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Leadership. Thigpen is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology; finalizing degree requirements in Psychology/Organizational Behavior & Leadership discipline. Additionally, Thigpen has earned professional certifications from the University of Southern Mississippi, the Mississippi Tourism Association, and Destination International. He has appeared in Black Meetings & Tourism magazine as one of the most influential African-Americans in the tourism industry multiple times.