Call him the de facto mayor of Downtown Vancouver.
Charles Gauthier is retiring from his long-running role as the president and CEO of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) at the end of June 2021.
He began serving the DVBIA in 1992, two years after the organization was formed by Vancouver City Council at the request of businesses and property owners within downtown.
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“It has been a pleasure to work with Charles the past four years. The DVBIA has been fortunate to have had Charles at the helm of the Association for the better part of three decades, and we have benefitted from his creativity, innovation, and experience,” said Luca Citton, DVBIA’s chair of the board of directors and managing director at Boughton Law, in a statement.
“While we will greatly miss his unique insight and informed perspective, DVBIA staff and Board members wish him nothing but the best in his well-deserved retirement.”
According to a release, Gauthier shaped the association from its initial, three-person startup to a team of 35 individuals, including office staff, a clean team, and downtown safety ambassadors.
He led the organization through three mandate renewal processes, a large-scale public consultation called Reimagine Downtown Vancouver, and many projects that improved the vibrancy of the city centre, such as the Alley-Oop pink laneway.
He has also been an outspoken supporter of economic development and renewal in the city.
“While milestones like this one are always bittersweet, I feel as though the timing for this next step is ideal. I have the utmost confidence in the strength of the current DVBIA staff, and have no doubt that they will do an incredible job implementing innovative and ambitious programming in the downtown core in the many years to come,” said Gauthier.
“From placemaking to community safety, economic development to marketing, our team touches on so many important aspects of what makes downtown Vancouver clean, safe, and welcoming. As difficult as it is to leave an organization that I truly love, leaving the Association in the hands of a competent and dedicated team will make it much easier.”
The DVBIA is launching a search committee and retaining a global search firm to recruit its next leader.