This week the board of directors of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT) voted unanimously to name Beth Gendler as the organization’s future president and CEO upon the retirement next year of long-time CEO Herb Malone. Gendler currently leads the organization’s sales/meetings and sports commission efforts.
Gendler will become GSOBT’s second president and CEO in the tourism office’s 27-year history. She has been on staff with the organization for 18 years, starting as the director of sales and being promoted to vice president of sales in 2011 where she has led all efforts for the meetings/convention and sports commission segments. For the immediate future, Gendler will serve as chief operating officer, becoming president and CEO later in 2021 upon Malone’s retirement.
As GSOBT Board Chairman Bill Brett explains, “Beth was the stand-out candidate among over 70 applicants. She has earned her stripes while being under Herb Malone’s tutelage for 18 years and is ready to build upon the CVB’s success thus far. Beth is a part of the local community and understands the importance of smart, sustainable growth in tourism.”
“I know the Search Committee reviewed and interviewed many extremely qualified candidates from across the country,” says Gendler. “To be chosen as the person to try and fill Herb’s shoes is humbling and such an honor. He is truly a legend in the tourism industry in Alabama and has done so much to grow these two beach towns from just a summer tourism season to now being a year-round destination for visitors. I could not ask for a better mentor.”
GSOBT’s longtime leader Herb Malone helped create the organization in 1993 after local community and business leaders envisioned an official tourism marketing organization for Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and the Fort Morgan peninsula. Under his leadership, the destination has seen lodging tax revenues on an almost continuous upward trajectory and has become one of the top beach destinations in the southeastern United States.
“After 32 years of serving the tourism industry in our beach communities – first with the chamber and then with the CVB – my wife, Bessie, and I decided it will soon be time to pass the gavel,” expresses Malone. “I plan to officially retire later in 2021 and will spend the next several months helping Beth prepare to take over. She knows our destination as well as anyone, is a tremendous leader who is highly respected by our staff and other tourism executives across the state and the country.
“An extensive year-long executive search was conducted by the GSOBT Board of Directors and after all that hard work and interviews, the Search Committee determined the very best candidate to take over the reins and shape the future of our area as a tourism destination was right here on our staff.”
To describe Herb Malone’s impact on Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, GSOBT Board Chairman Brett adds, “Many years ago, Herb made the choice to give up a lucrative career in the private business sector to fulfill his vision of bettering our community through diplomacy, good sense, hard work and persistence. During that time, he successfully built a legacy organization from the ground up that supports smart growth in the family tourism industry. Herb’s contributions to the community are abundant, and we are confident that Beth will positively build upon his legacy while integrating her own vision towards bettering our community.”