Michael J. Sawaya, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s new President/General Manager, began his tenure in his new position on February 19. Sawaya was chosen by the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, the governing board of the convention center, from a deep field of experienced candidates after the Center’s previous General Manager, Bob Johnson, retired in September 2017 after ten years at the post.
In his first address to employees of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Sawaya introduced himself, his family, and his background, and shared an optimistic outlook for the future of Louisiana’s leading economic engine. Sawaya emphasized his experience as a 40-year veteran of the hospitality industry, and praised the rich history and culture of New Orleans.
“I am thrilled at the opportunity to lead the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and to become a part of the New Orleans community,” said Sawaya. “New Orleans’s storied reputation as a world-class city and convention destination make it the ideal fit for me and my family, and I am excited about the future course that we will execute together.”
Previously, Sawaya served as executive director of the Convention and Sports Facilities Department for the City of San Antonio. In his previous role, Sawaya oversaw operations of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Lila Cockrell Theatre, Alamodome, and more. That experience will serve the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center well as work begins on the next chapter of the Linear Park Project, an initiative to further expand the capabilities of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
President/General Manager Michael J. Sawaya addresses New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center employees for the first time
About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
With 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center features an award winning staff and first class amenities, and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. A consistent Top 10 host of the largest conventions and tradeshows in the nation annually, the Convention Center is also one of the city’s “Top Workplaces.” A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, the Convention Center’s event activity has produced $81.7 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.1 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.