Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority CEO Chris Baum Voted Out

The board of directors of the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) in Reno, NV, has voted to oust president and CEO Chris Baum in the first year of a three-year renewed contract, local newspaper the Reno Gazette-Journal reported yesterday. Baum, who was hired to lead the organization nearly four years ago, was terminated without cause, according to the paper, which said he will receive six months of severance pay on is $234,090 annual salary.

"I have enjoyed heading up the RSCVA for the last four years and am proud of our significant accomplishments, including building a highly productive new convention sales team, helping bring additional nonstop air service to the region, and effectively positioning the Reno/Sparks/North Lake Tahoe region as a year-round destination resort," Baum said in a statement. "I wish the RSCVA staff and board well as I head back east for the next chapter of my career."

Baum, who previously was senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, led a "modest" turnaround in hotel room occupancy and daily room rates in downtown Reno during his tenure, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal, which said room rates reached record levels during each of the past three Augusts. Baum's critics, however, have said he lacks the long-term vision needed to transform Reno's brand.

"With the new landscape of the board of directors, new strategic plan in development, and a new source of funding for marketing the region, the board of directors decided it's in everyone's best interest to get a fresh perspective as we move forward," RSCVA chairman Bob Lucey said. "We thank Mr. Baum for his service and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

The RSCVA board is currently considering three people to replace Baum on an interim basis: RSCVA Marketing Director Jennifer Cunningham, RSCVA Vice President of Facilities Joe Kelley, and RSCVA Director of Finance Brian Rivers.

MeetingNews Minute is now 30 Seconds to Smart. Up your meetings-industry IQ now!