David S. Beck

This post has been updated.

Roughly nine months after Jason Rittenberry resigned, Kentucky Venues has a new president and CEO.

David S. Beck, 63, is expected to assume the role of president and CEO of Kentucky Venues on July 1, according to an announcement from the Kentucky State Fair Board on Thursday. He was chosen by a committee of five chaired by Kentucky State Fair Board chairman Mark Lynn, who has been handling some of Kentucky Venues’ operations.

The position includes overseeing operations at the state-owned Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center, which is expected to reopen a few weeks after Beck’s start date following a $207 million renovation.

Beck currently is CEO of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, a position he has held since 1995. He has more than 40 years of experience in agriculture and governmental affairs.

He also is a native of western Kentucky and a graduate of Murray State University.

“David Beck successfully led a large organization, involved in major state and national legislative regulatory issues affecting agriculture and rural Kentucky,” Don Parkinson, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said. “He brings a wealth of business expertise to lead the sixth largest convention operation in the nation.”

The Kentucky State Fair Board will meet on April 26 to formally approve Beck’s contract, the details of which were not included in the release. His predecessor Rittenberry, who resigned abruptly in September, earned a base salary of $300,000 with a potential for up to $30,000 in annual incentive pay and the state covering $50,000 worth of travel and other work-related expenses.

During his short tenure as head of Kentucky Venues, Rittenberry rebranded it — including changing the name of the entity from the Kentucky State Fair Board to Kentucky Venues, rebranding the Kentucky State Fair and introducing a new mobile application for fairgoers. He now works at a full-service event and venue management company in Nashville.

A spokeswoman with Kentucky Venues told Insider Louisville in an email Friday morning that Stacey Church, who was hired in November as general manager of the Kentucky International Convention Center, will remain in that role. Church, who earns a salary of $150,000 annually, is the first to hold the position, the duties of which were previously rolled into the job description of the president and CEO of Kentucky Venues.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]