Oswalt to Step Down as DMC President


  • Downtown Memphis Commission
  • Jennifer Oswalt

Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) president Jennifer Oswalt will leave the organization at year's end and will be temporarily replaced by former DMC staffer Ray Brown until a permanent replacement is found. 

Oswalt joined the DMC as chief financial officer in 2015. She was elevated to president in 2017. Before her work with the Downtown Memphis Commission, Oswalt was CFO for Contemporary Media, Inc., parent company of the Memphis Flyer.

She leaves the DMC for a position in Knoxville with HF Capital. There, she will build the newly formed Family Investment Office for the Haslam family.

"Downtown Memphis is in a special place with eager and dedicated developers, supportive city and county government, and the opportunity for an influx of new residents and Downtowners of all types," Oswalt said about the future of Downtown Memphis. "I am confident in the DMC staff's strength, passion, and dedication to continuing the work of bettering Downtown to attract even more investment in years to come."

In her time with the DMC, the organization completed a parking study and a Downtown master plan that focused on the area's core, enhancing walkability, and strengthening connections to the riverfront.

The Downtown development pipeline rose to historic levels under Oswalt's leadership with projects like The Walk, One Beale, Tennessee Brewery, Orion and Rise projects, Loews, Arrive, Central Station and Canopy Hotels, and the recently announced Mobility Center.

  • Downtown Memphis Commission
  • Ray Brown
Brown will step in as the DMC conducts a comprehensive search for Oswalt's replacement. He has served as the DMC's vice president of Planning and Development. He is the former chair of the Downtown Memphis Design Review Board and the current treasurer of the Center City Development Corporation.

"I believe in Downtown Memphis as the heart of our city. In various roles over two decades, I have been privileged to help Downtown grow towards its full potential," Brown said. "I thank the DMC for entrusting me with this stewardship."

A DMC search committee for the position will begin identifying and vetting candidates in early 2021. The position description will be posted on the DMC website later this month.

"We are truly grateful to Jennifer for her excellent stewardship of Downtown over the past four years," said Deni Reilly, DMC board chair. "Her ability to lead humbly, with vision, acumen, and integrity will serve her well in her new position.

"It is a testament to not only Jennifer but the DMC and Memphis that Governor [Bill] Haslam and his family sought her out for this high-profile position. We know she will soar in her new role and will always carry Downtown Memphis in her heart."

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