By the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced this week the retirement of President and CEO Dan Lincoln, who restored national prominence to Cincinnati’s tourism and convention scene, will retire on Dec. 31.
The CVB has engaged a national search firm to replace Lincoln. Current Chief Operating Officer Mike Laatsch will serve as Interim CEO until a successor is named.
A champion of diversity, Cincinnati has attracted 19 of the top 25 multicultural organizations in the country under Lincoln’s leadership. He also spoke about Cincinnati’s role in hosting African American conventions at the inaugural State of Black Tourism national meeting.
“In his 11 years as president and CEO, Dan has led the CVB with a rare combination of long-term strategic vision, an uncanny ability to bring people together and an infectious passion for Cincinnati,” said Jim McGraw, chair of the Board of Directors for the CVB. “His track record of innovation, impact and influence has left an indelible mark, and our organization is positioned for continued success.”
Douglass McDonald will chair the search committee for the new CEO. Along with McDonald, Jim McGraw, Edgar Smith, Delores Hargrove-Young, Mike Bennett, Mario San Marco, Harry Black and Jeff Aluotto comprise the search committee.
A 34-year veteran of the tourism industry, Lincoln was named CEO in 2006 and is largely credited with recrafting the Bureau’s business strategy and defining the CVB as a destination marketing and management organization focused on building the region’s visitor economy.
Delores Hargrove-Young, former chair of the CVB, added, “For over a decade, Dan demonstrated to our region what’s possible by putting Cincinnati on the regional, national and global map. He is a change agent, a thought leader in tourism and a passionate advocate of Cincinnati, who worked tirelessly to ensure our city was a destination of choice for conventions and tourists. He was also a driving force for diversity within the CVB and in attracting diverse organizations to the region for their meetings and events.”
“The results speak for themselves,” said Mayor John Canley. “We’ve had tremendous growth in the tourism industry, and the city is more attractive to visitors and convention planners than ever before. Dan Lincoln’s influence will be felt for generations to come.”
During Lincoln’s tenure as president and CEO, Cincinnati has hosted more than 3.3 million convention delegates who spent more than $990 million in the Cincinnati region, including 2.5 million contracted hotel room nights, including the NAACP Convention in 2008 and 2016 and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2015.
Another highlight of Lincoln’s tenure is the World Choir Games held in 2012. Cincinnati was the first U.S. city to host the event, which attracted 15,000 participants from 64 countries, and garnered more than a billion positive social media impressions and generated $73.5 million in economic impact.
Lincoln has decided to retire due to a medical issue.
“My retirement will give me more time to focus on my family and my health,” Lincoln added.
The Convention & Visitors Bureau will recognize Dan’s contributions at its annual meeting in March.