Less than four hours after the last issue of INBOUND report posted news of the firing of Dawn Ulrich from her post as president and CEO of the Houston First corporation, which runs the city’s tourism bureau, the Houston City Council announced that it had confirmed Brenda Bazan, chief financial officer of Houston First as the new CEO of the organization.
She had been nominated a week before by Corporation’s board, just two days after Dawn Ullrich, was fired from the post in a decision announced by David Mincberg, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Flagship Properties Corporation. Mincberg announced the decision following a closed-door session with other board members.
The dismissal of Ullrich stunned the tourism community in Houston and came in the wake of Ullrich’s own announcement that she had planned to retire from her CEO post by the end of the year. An attorney who has more than three decades experience working for the city of Houston, including a number of years with its convention center, she came to Houston First when it was established in 2011.
Bazan, a certified public accountant for three decades, has served as Houston First Corp.’s chief financial officer since 2011. Previously, she was deputy director, finance and administration, for Houston’s convention and entertainment facilities department. And prior to that, she worked for more than two years as director of financial reporting in the City of Houston Controller’s Office.
Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Visit KC announced the appointment of Patrick Geschwind as its interim president & CEO, following the Jan. 31 departure of Ronnie Burt from the position.
Burt had announced his resignation earlier in the month. Burt, who came to Visit KC in June 2014 from Destination DC, where he was vice president of sales and services, had become the subject of employee complaints and a lawsuit filed by the organization’s former human resources manager Janette Barron.
Barron, a 21-year employee of the Kansas City bureau, claimed she was fired from the organization after she sought an investigation into claims of Burt’s alleged harassing and bullying behavior toward female employees. She sued the organization, and that lawsuit reached a settlement last week on Jan. 10.
Geschwind, owner and senior consultant at Patrick Geschwind & Associates, has more than three decades of leadership experience, including 25 years of marketing, sales and human resource positions within SBC Communications (now AT&T). His interim role at Kansas City’s tourism bureau began on Feb. 20. Meanwhile, a committee of the Visit KC board of directors is conducting a national search for a permanent replacement.