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RSCVA board names Visit Anaheim executive as new CEO

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The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority board on Monday named a new chief executive.

Charles Harris

Charles Harris has been chief marketing officer and executive vice president for public affairs at Visit Anaheim in Southern California since 2014. Prior to that, Harris was vice president of marketing at Luxe Hotels in Bel Air.

During his interview, Harris talked about building trust and acknowledged RSCVA has had challenges, noting a “pretty good turnover in the last 10 years” with three different CEOs. Bringing positive changes to downtown Reno will also take work, he said.

“What the locals have told me — the ones I spoke to on a limited basis — is that, ‘Hey, it’s a great town, it’s fantastic, there’s a lot to do,’ but a lot of locals will not go downtown at night,” Harris said. “So what is the expectation of this organization to be able to change that environment?”

RSCVA staff plans to negotiate an employment agreement with Harris and bring it back to the board for approval.

Other candidates interviewed were Jennifer Cunningham and Marc Anderson.

Cunningham is RSCVA’s executive director of marketing and has been its interim president and CEO since DeLone’s resignation.

Anderson is chief operating officer of Choose Chicago, a destination marketing organization that promotes the Windy City.

SearchWide Global conducted the CEO search. The decision to hire Harris was unanimous.

“The idea he’s had so much experience in California — and that is our primary feeder market — that’s an advantage for him, that he understands a lot of what happens in this region,” board member Don Kornstein said.

Harris replaces Phil DeLone, who was hired through a national search in November 2016 and began his tenure with the RSCVA in early 2017. He resigned in February, citing health reasons. His resignation also came shortly after allegations of misconduct surfaced.


Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.

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