This Just In

Houston CVB Still Without CEO


Houston, TX – When Greg Ortale tendered his resignation as president and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GHCVB) last April, the CVB and Houston First Corp. were in the throes of negotiating a strategic alliance. Houston First is the public/private group that operates the George R. Brown Convention Center and other public venues in Houston. Ortale said he would remain on the job until an acting CEO was named and would remain an employee of the GHCVB until July 31.

In May, the GHCVB told the Houston Business Journal that it would not pursue a replacement for Ortale until the realignment/alliance was complete, saying it would be difficult to conduct a national search at that time. In the interim, GHCVB Board Chairwoman Sonia Garza-Monarchi assumed many of Ortale’s duties, but not the title. Garza-Monarchi was one of six board members from the two organizations negotiating details of the alliance. Neither Ortale nor his counterpart at Houston First, President and CEO Dawn Ullrich, were involved in the negotiations.

The GHCVB officially became part of the Houston First Corp. on July 1. The move followed approval of the alliance by the GHCVB executive committee and board of directors along with Houston First’s board of directors. Ullrich is currently handling the CEO duties for the GHCVB while an executive search is reportedly underway for a new CEO. As of mid-October, the search had not produced a new CEO for the GHCVB.

In an emailed statement to Trade Show Executive, the company said, “A committee has been formed to search for a new CEO of the GHCVB. The committee is actively engaged in that task and we will provide more details when they become available.”

In August, the Greater Houston Partnership announced that it and other business, tourism, and convention entities were moving into a new 10-story $76 million building next to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

Reach Dawn Ullrich at (713) 853-8072 or

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