Hospitality/Tourism: CLIFF FLEET
PRESIDENT, CEO AND CHAIR, THE COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION, WILLIAMSBURG
Fleet’s grandfather was passionate about history and his enthusiasm was contagious. “As a child, I would spend hours discussing the issues of the past and how they shape the world today,” Fleet says.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation appointed Fleet to serve as its ninth president and CEO at the beginning of 2020. Fleet’s career hasn’t always been a history buff’s dream come true, though. For more than two decades, Fleet worked for Henrico County-based Fortune 500 tobacco products manufacturer Altria Group Inc., ultimately serving for his final three years there as president and CEO of Altria’s Philip Morris USA subsidiary.
Fleet earned a bachelor’s degree in history and religion and graduate degrees in history, business administration and law from William & Mary. Today, he chairs the William & Mary Foundation and teaches business courses at the university.
In 2021, donors gave a record-breaking $102 million to Colonial Williamsburg, the largest outdoor living museum in the country.
FIRST JOB: Dishwasher
PERSON I ADMIRE: My mother. She overcame much in life and sacrificed so that her children could have wonderful lives.