LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Derby Festival will soon have a new president and chief executive.

According to a news release from the festival, Matt Gibson has been selected for the job after "an extensive nationwide search."

"This is truly a lifelong dream," Gibson said, in a statement. "My job at the Kentucky Derby Festival has always been a labor of love, and I can't imagine doing anything else."

Gibson has led the Kentucky Derby Festival's Events and Operations since 2003, according to the release.

"We already have the best team in town," he added, in the statement. "I look forward to continue working alongside them and leading them as we take the Festival to new heights."

Gibson will be taking over the role from Mike Berry, who plans to retire in October, after 33 years.

"I know I'm leaving the Festival in good hands," said Berry, in a statement. "Matt was my first hire after being named President in 1997. His passion for the Festival and the community will serve him well in this new role."

According to the news release, Gibson first joined the Festival in 1997 as an Event Manager and moved up the ranks to become Director of Operations in 1999, before becoming Vice President of Events in 2003. He is currently serving on the Senior Leadership Team as the Senior Vice President of Events.

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