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Karen Irwin

Karen Irwin

President & COO of Universal Orlando Resort

Karen Irwin is President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Orlando Resort, the 700-acre, award-winning theme park destination that is home to three world-class theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Volcano Bay; Universal CityWalk: a 30-acre dining, retail and entertainment complex; and, opening in 2025, the transformational Universal Epic Universe, which will offer an entirely new level of experience that will forever change theme park entertainment. The Resort also features eight hotels with 9,000 rooms and 300,000 feet of convention space, operated by Loews. 

In this role, Ms. Irwin sets and leads the overall strategic direction and vision for the company’s largest theme park destination which employs over 25,000 team members. Prior to her current role, she served as President of Universal Studios Hollywood and was also responsible for leading the Universal Brand Development licensing and consumer products business for NBCUniversal. 

Since joining Universal in 1990, Ms. Irwin has held more than a dozen leadership roles spanning areas such as Park Operations, Strategy, Planning, Licensing, Marketing Partnerships, and Product Development. Key accomplishments during her tenure with the company include leading the expansion of Universal Orlando Resort to a multi-park and resort destination, the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions in Orlando and Hollywood, and the development and opening of Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore, and Universal Beijing Resort. 

Ms. Irwin currently serves on the Board of Directors for Visit Orlando. She has held previous Board positions as Marketing Chair for Visit California and Executive Committee Member for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board and the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission. She was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, the Rosen School of Hospitality at the University of Central Florida, and Valencia Community College. 

In addition, she is the Executive Lead for NBCUniversal’s Women’s Network and formerly served as President for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Discover a Star Foundation, the Universal Orlando Volunteer Board, and as Chair for the Universal Workplace Giving campaign. 

A graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications, Ms. Irwin also completed an Executive Development Program at the Wharton School of Business and has decades of management and leadership experience in the entertainment and hospitality industries. 

Ms. Irwin and her husband reside in Orlando, FL and have four children.