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Claude Molinari Announced as New General Manager of Cobo Center

Claude Molinari headshot

Wes Westley, president and CEO of SMG, recently announced Claude Molinari as the new general manager of Cobo Center. Since SMG assumed operations management of Cobo Center in 2010, Molinari has been the assistant general manager under Thom Connors. Mr. Connors will continue his corporate role with SMG, including oversight of the Cobo Center account.

“This is a natural transition,” said Westley. “Both Thom and Claude will continue to bring their leadership strengths and industry vision to Cobo Center.”

Molinari has been with SMG for 18 years and during his tenure in Detroit, he was promoted to regional director of operations for SMG Mideast, where he oversaw the operations departments of 15 regional facilities. Prior to his Cobo assignment, he was assistant general manager of Pittsburgh’s David Lawrence Convention Center, and the general manager of SMGX Exposition Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of SMG.

“I am really looking forward to the challenge of the new role as general manager of the iconic Cobo Center and will do my best to succeed an industry veteran like Thom Connors,” said Molinari. “I am excited to work with the Cobo team to bring customer service, bookings and maintenance, to even higher levels in the future.”

Additionally, Cedric Turnbore has been promoted to director of operations for Cobo Center, and his responsibilities will expand to include the oversight of production, sustainability, and janitorial services.

Turnbore came to Cobo with more than 20 years of experience with top brand properties including the Westin Book Cadillac and Marriott Hotels.

Larry Alexander, chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority and president of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, added, “Having true hospitality veterans like Thom, Claude and Cedric on the team with their unique knowledge and expertise has been a tremendous asset as we worked through the transformation of Cobo Center.  And just as their work has already elevated the operations and customer service in the facility, their leadership going forward will ensure that Cobo Center continues to earn its reputation as an exceptional event and conference venue.”

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