Forty-three Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau staff members have left over the past two years, according to this article. That's more than half its entire staff, and it's happening as group business is taking off in that town, the bureau has the new McCormick Place addition that's opening next year to market in addition to its work for the convention center, and it's facing more competition from New York's Javits Center, among other cities' expansions and new convention center construction. Of course, fingers are pointing all over the place when it comes to placing blame for the turnover. It seems to have really gotten rolling after chief executive Jim Reilly left two years ago, leaving the CTB under the leadership of Christopher Bowers. Tim Roby, whose background is in hotel sales and marketing, will have his work cut out for him in pulling it all together when he takes over the reins this spring.
The situation reminds me a little of what's been happening at some of the meeting planning industry organizations lately, with all the leadership churn and the loss of some key staff people. We'll probably never know for sure what all the reasons are behind the turnovers, which makes nosy people like me crazy. But PCMA seems to be settling in under Deborah Sexton (Chicago CTB's ex-president), and hopefully Roby will have a similar effect on the CTB. Under temporary leadership for now and with a restructuring in its near future, more staffing shakeups seem likely for MPI, though.