Tourism director John Cohen resigns

John Cohen resigned as executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office on Thursday, officials say.

“We really appreciate all he’s done the last five years,” said Kris Oyler, chairman of DATO’s board of directors. “We see this as a good opportunity for the tourism office to find a new director who can take our organization to a new level.”

Cohen left his role in Las Vegas as director of sales for the Blue Man Group, a troupe that combines mime, comedy and music in its performances, in 2006 to take over as executive director of the office.

In his role, Cohen put together the tourism office’s new website, and hired “an incredible staff,” said Jack Llewellyn, executive director of the Durango Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I think it’s an asset he brought to the table,” he said.

Cohen earned $65,000 annually when he was hired. Oyler would not comment on Cohen’s severance package.

Oyler said Cohen has decided to seek new opportunities and called it a mutually agreeable separation.

Cohen would not comment on his resignation.

The board of directors has not appointed an interim director, but Oyler doesn’t think the office will suffer in the meantime.

“Most of our work for the summer is already done, so now it’s just a matter of executing, and I feel very strongly the staff will do a good job in that role,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll miss a beat.”

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