Stuart Blumberg retiring as head of Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association
By Scott E. Pacheco
Stuart Blumberg is stepping down as the only president and chief executive officer the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association has ever had, effective at year's end.
He announced his intent to retire to his board of directors Oct. 8, though he said the decision had been made much earlier.
"I made it back in April because way back in my career, which has spanned 54 years, somebody once told me that you are going to know when it's time," Mr. Blumberg said. "… I thought about it. I spoke to a few of my close, close friends. Got some feedback, basically finally said, "Yeah, I am going to do this.'"
He's to announce in public his retirement at the association's 15th annual meeting Oct. 20 at the Eden Roc resort. He was to be featured speaker. However, he said Tuesday, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist also will now speak at the event.
Mr. Blumberg said the association will carry on and that Tim Nardi, its chair, already has appointed a transition team that was to meet Tuesday for the first time.
"The board voted unanimously to keep the association going," Mr. Blumberg said. "It's got a brand, it's got an identity — it has become a well-recognized organization statewide."
As for who would replace him, Mr. Blumberg was frank: "Not my decision." He also said he doesn't have another job lined up.
Mr. Nardi, general manager of the Shore Club, and Kimberly Wilson, area general manager with the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay and past association president, did not return calls.
Mr. Blumberg's retirement culminates a 54-year career in which he developed a reputation as a straight-shooter who is at the center of a standing joke over the years that his goal was to "tick-off at least five people before noon."
Despite this reputation, Mr. Blumberg insists his retirement decision was his alone — he said he wasn't coerced or forced to leave — and that his health, which is good, wasn't a factor.
"It's been a terrific ride with my personality that sometimes rubs people the wrong way, but at least they get the truth," he said.
Mr. Blumberg said he initially planned to stay on for a year after announcing retirement but decided it would be best to help the transition get started and then get out of the way.
"The best thing to do is go the end of the year," he said. "It gives [them] some time to begin the transition period and make some decisions."
Mr. Blumberg said he will stay active in the community and help with the association or Miami Beach Convention Center's planned upgrade if asked. He also will continue to teach a course in the "power of partnerships" at Florida International University.
"I am going to remain active in some of the organizations that I remain active in," he said. "I told the board if they need someone to go to Tallahassee on their behalf I will do that pro-bono. I am going to keep my hands involved…"
Mr. Blumberg became head of the Miami Beach Resort Hotel Association in 1991, three years before it would merge with the Greater Miami Hotel Association, forming the Greater Miami & the Beaches group that exists today.
He said moving forward, the biggest thing by far on the table is getting the convention center renovation underway.
A Miami Beach official said the agreement to approve $600,000 in reimbursements for renovation pre-planning was completed last week, and once delivered to the county should take about five days to execute.
After the new year, Mr. Blumberg said he will miss the daily grind of his job. But quoting an interview he once heard, he said he'll "miss it every day but not enough to keep doing it."