By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The longtime founding president of Philadelphia’s leisure tourism agency is stepping aside.

After 40 years of promoting Philadelphia, Meryl Levitz says the time has come to retire as CEO of Visit Philadelphia, the tourism booster she founded in 1996.

“I have a really good inner clock. And a couple of chimes went off,” she said.

Levitz, who’s battling a cold, says those chimes included the fact that Visit Philly has a solid staff and budget, the death of her husband a year and a half ago, the fact that she turned 70 last year, and that her contract is up at the end of this year.

A national search for a new CEO is underway.

Levitz says she’ll stay on until the new CEO is on board.

“Then, at the end of the year, I will wake up one morning without a to-do list,” she said.