Leadership changes are underway at convention & visitors bureaus in four large U.S. cities -- Dallas, Cleveland, Chicago, and Baltimore.

In Cleveland and Chicago, CVB presidents stepped down, while in Dallas and Baltimore, new leaders took over.

Dave Nolan, Cleveland CVB president for the past 10 years, resigned October 2 on the heels of media allegations of reckless spending. "I regret the difficulties this incident caused the CVB and my family," said Nolan in a statement. The CVB ordered an independent audit of the CVB following the media reports last May. Board chairman Dennis Lehman said last week that the report concludes that Nolan engaged in no "malicious misconduct" during his tenure, and no further action was taken. Dennis Roche has replaced Nolan on an interim basis, said Megan Richards, spokeswoman.

Similar problems led to the changing of the guard at the Dallas CVB. Phillip Jones was hired on October 7 as president and CEO of the Dallas CVB, replacing interim chief Ron Melton. Melton replaced David Whitney, who resigned in January after local media reports of over-the-top spending. Melton returns to his former role as executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Michael Doughman, spokesman.

Jones comes to Dallas after seven years as Secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism for the state of Louisiana. During his tenure, Louisiana tourism shot up 29 percent in visitation and 37 percent in dollars spent. Among his achievements, Jones expanded the multi-cultural advertising effort that has taken Louisiana to number one in share of the African-American tourism market. Before that, Jones worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Administration, serving as director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs.

Earlier this week, longtime president of the Chicago CVB, James Reilly, announced that he would resign when his contract expires March 31, 2004. Reilly, CEO of the bureau for the past 15 years, leaves to run a bed-and-breakfast with his wife, and to pursue an independent consulting business.

Finally, in Baltimore, Leslie Doggett, has taken the reins as president and CEO of the city’s CVB. Doggett replaces Carroll Armstrong, who resigned in February. Doggett, who started in September, has already made a splash, landing the largest convention in Baltimore’s history, the National Baptist Convention -- slated for June 2006.

Prior to coming to Baltimore, Doggett worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she served as deputy under secretary for the Travel and Tourism Administration. -- Dave Kovaleski