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Celebration Names Johnson Interim Leader




The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has named Virgil Johnson of Shelbyville, Tenn. its interim leader. He will function in the role of Chief Executive Officer while the Celebration searches for a permanent replacement.

Johnson, 75, replaces longtime CEO Ron Thomas, who was asked to resign by the group’s board of directors on Tuesday. Thomas left his office on Wednesday without issuing a letter of resignation, according to David L. Howard, board chairman.

"I have a deep interest in the Celebration and it’s importance to Shelbyville. I’m doing this as much out of civic duty as anything," said Johnson, who for 25 years was the manager of the local Josten’s printing plant, which produces high school and college graduation products.

Johnson, a former Celebration board member, said he does not expect his tenure to be long. "I agreed to help out while they conduct a search for a new CEO," said Johnson.

Howard said the Celebration Board hoped to have a new executive hired by February.

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