Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority Names New CEO

Its board of directors has named John J. McNichol as its new president and CEO, effective March 1, 2014, the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA) announced yesterday.

“John has been an integral part of the board’s efforts to put the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the best position to deliver on its promise as a regional economic engine and a major driver of the region’s hospitality industry,” PCCA Board Chairman Gregory J. Fox said in a statement. “After meeting with and talking with a number of candidates, it became clear to me that we already had the best candidate right here all along. John’s expertise and knowledge of the center, his relationships with stakeholders, leadership skills and expertise in state government will be important assets to the center as we work to enhance the customer experience and attract more shows and conventions to Philadelphia.”

McNichol, who currently is vice chairman of the PCCA board, has been serving as president and CEO in an unpaid capacity since December 2013. Since 2000, he has been a partner in the government relations firm of Greenlee Partners, prior to which he was senior vice president and director of government affairs for Tierney Communications in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

In his new role, McNichol will provide general administrative oversight of PCCA staff while coordinating Pennsylvania Convention Center activities with stakeholders such as the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, labor unions and venue management company SMG, which runs the Pennsylvania Convention Center on PCCA’s behalf.

“The Pennsylvania Convention Center is a real asset to the state and the region, and we are on the path to helping the center reach its full potential as a major economic driver for the region,” McNichol said. “I see so much potential here at the center and, while we have our challenges, I look forward to the opportunity to have a substantial impact on our region.”

Last year, the Pennsylvania Convention Center hosted 226 events and 1.1 million attendees that delivered a regional economic impact of $728 million through hotel stays, dining, shopping, visits to local attractions, and other spending. McNichol said his goal as president and CEO will be raising those numbers even higher.

“The majority of area residents associate the convention center with the Car Show and Flower Show, but the real benefit of the center is attracting major national conventions that create and support jobs in the hospitality industry,” he said. “Our goal is to build on [last year’s] numbers by increasing the number of conventions and events booked at the center in the next few years.”

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