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Paul Levy (left) is transitioning from his role as President & CEO of Center City District at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Prema Katari Gupta (right). Photo Courtesy of Center City District.
Paul Levy (left) is transitioning from his role as President & CEO of Center City District at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Prema Katari Gupta (right). Photo Courtesy of Center City District.

Center City District reveals leadership succession plan as longtime President & CEO prepares for departure

Longtime President & CEO Paul Levy will shift to a non-executive board role next year, with Prema Katari Gupta as his successor as President & CEO.

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Center City District (CCD) has been in existence since 1991, and from that moment, it has had a single man as its top executive leader — Paul Levy.

On Feb. 7, it was announced that Levy will be transitioning from his role as President & CEO after three decades on Dec. 31, 2023.

As part of the announcement, it was also revealed that the board has unanimously approved Prema Katari Gupta, currently Vice President for Parks and Public Realm at CCD, to become the organization’s next President & CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2024.

“On behalf of the entire CCD Board, I would like to express how pleased we are with the transition plan formally approved today,” CCD Board Chair John Connors said in a statement. 

“We wanted to maintain continuity while ensuring an orderly process of change, building upon CCD’s solid financial foundation and strong senior management team, while promoting someone from within who has an established track record and a great familiarity with the Philadelphia context. Prema’s expertise made her the clear choice to be CCD’s next leader,” he continued. 

After his tenure as President & CEO comes to an end, Levy will transition to a non-executive Chair of the Board. In the role, he will take a step back from the day-to-day management of CCD operations, but continue to play a supportive role, assisting with the transition, providing strategic guidance for the CCD, and helping advance several of the organization’s key new initiatives.

In a statement, Levy provided high praise for his successor. 

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“I have known Prema for nearly 20 years,” he said. “She started at CCD only three weeks before the pandemic changed everything. Amid the many challenges that Center City faced in the weeks and months that followed, her expertise, ideas and leadership were instrumental in maintaining and enhancing our mission –- from ensuring that our parks and public spaces were attractive and welcoming, to creating innovative strategies to support property owners, businesses, and community leaders and residents.”

Levy added that he is looking forward to continuing to work with Gupta and the Board to “build on CCD’s three decades of strong momentum.”

It’s a sentiment that Gupta, herself, also shares.

“It’s an honor to be selected to be the second person to lead the Center City District team, which under Paul’s incredible leadership has become a model for business improvement districts around the country and around the world,” Gupta said.

“I look forward to continuing to serve the dedicated and talented CCD team and our many stakeholders. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and for Paul’s continued partnership as we work together to set CCD on a solid course for its continued success and growth,” she added. 

Prior to joining CCD in 2020, Gupta served nearly 5 years as senior vice president at the Navy Yard. 

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