Job Description will be updated after 2/1/2021

President/CEO – Downtown Memphis Commission

REPORTS TO:  Chairman of the Board
SUPERVISES:  Professional staff of 14

The Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) seeks a proven leader and professional who understands the unique design and human factors (urban planning and city design, space use and purpose, connectivity, sense of experience) necessary to continue Downtown Memphis’ progress as a Downtown for everyone. 

City, county, and business leaders recognize that a healthy, vibrant Downtown is a catalyst for growth and sustainability throughout our region. The DMC mission is to advance Memphis and Shelby County by making Downtown a better place to live, work, engage, and invest.

The organization seeks an action-oriented city builder who can manage complex real estate and finance deals along with an extensive array of incentive programs while energizing a host of personal relationships, resources, and partnerships. The DMC seeks a CEO to serve as the champion for growth and vitality in Downtown Memphis.

Among other qualifications, the DMC President/CEO must possess:

  • Vision to see how investment in and vitality of Downtown benefits the entire region and ability to obtain support from elected officials of this assertion.
  • Strong financial literacy and ability to understand complex matters including but not limited to property taxes, debt and bond financing, long-term financial modeling, and budgets.
  • Proven collaboration skills needed to work with related entities.
  • Proven success obtaining support from various stakeholders on both specific and broad matters affecting both few and many of such stakeholders. 
  • Excellent Leadership Skills to manage and motivate staff.

Applications will be accepted beginning January 2021. 

Additional application information/links/deadlines will be forthcoming.

Downtown Memphis Commission Request for Qualifications

Executive Search Firm

The Downtown Memphis Commission’s Board of Directors wishes to employ the services of an experienced executive search firm to identify the most qualified candidates for the position of president & CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC), and to assist the Board through its Search Committee in the various aspects of the selection process. The president and CEO will report directly to the DMC Board of Directors.

The Downtown Memphis Commission drives Downtown’s role as the economic, cultural, and governmental core of Memphis and Shelby County. The DMC is a quasi-public organization, created as a joint venture of the City and County by ordinance of each. It is funded by an assessment on commercial property in the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) which is reinvested into funding incentives and activations designed to support Downtown’s population growth and appraised commercial property values. Through our investment in Downtown development, we are creating a stronger Downtown Memphis—a Downtown for everyone.

The DMC is composed of five separate but related entities, collectively responsible for coordinating Downtown’s revitalization (a 6.5 square mile Central Business Improvement District). The DMC has a $4 million annual operating budget, approximately $75 million in total assets, and a 14-member professional staff and manages the hospitality and safety team responsible for Downtown.  

The former president & CEO resigned as of December 31, 2020. The current interim president will not apply for the permanent position. If possible, it is the Board’s goal to reach a decision on a successor by February 28, 2021, and that the successful candidate will begin his or her employment on or about March 31, 2021. 

The following Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is issued to interested executive search firms with responses due no later than 5 P.M. CST, January 15, 2021. 

Please remit your responses in order and labeled/numbered in accordance with the following outline.


  1. Describe your experience in conducting successful executive searches for organizations of the approximate size of the DMC (and/or larger) in the public and private sectors with specific emphasis on C-level executives and above at both local and national levels with a focus on the Memphis and Shelby County area, if any;
  2. Describe your experience, if any, in conducting searches specifically for Downtown organizations such as Business Improvement Districts and Economic Development organizations;
  3. Identify three successful similar searches recently completed, including client reference contact information;
  4. Provide resumes and a summary of relative experience of firm members who would be conducting a search for the DMC, and identify the proposed search leader.


  1. Describe the methodology normally used to conduct a search of this nature, including candidate identification, interviews, background and reference checks, and assistance in contract negotiation;
  2. Describe how communication is normally maintained with the client and client representatives during the search process.

MWBE Requirement:
Provide a statement specifically indicating how best faith efforts would be made to achieve the DMC’s goal of a minimum of 25% MWBE participation in the conduct of this engagement.

Provide a search timetable that would ensure the Board’s selection date could be met.

Fees and Expenses:
Describe the fee and expense structure that would be employed in conducting the subject search.

Submission Process and Review Timeline:
Emailed responses to this RFQ should be delivered to Penelope Springer, CFO and Staff Liaison to the Selection Committee –

Responses must be received no later than 5 P.M. CST, January 15, 2021.

  • Final submission date: January 15, 2021.
  • Search Committee review of responses: Week of January 18, 2021.
  • Search Committee recommendation of an executive search firm to DMC Board:  January 22, 2021

The DMC reserves the right to award, or not to award, an engagement contract as a result of this RFQ process.

Please direct all questions regarding this RFQ to Penelope Springer, CFO and Staff Liaison to the Selection Committee –

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