The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s six-member Policy Committee is agreeing with a plan to combine the positions of chief operating officer and president, but it wants the convention authority’s board to play a role in selecting who gets the job.
The committee also suggested the hiring of a new C-suite level executive position — chief marketing officer — when it met Monday.
The LVCVA’s top executives are in the final stages of revamping the authority’s executive-level organizational chart, which would include combining the responsibilities of a chief operating officer and president serving beneath the chief executive officer.
The 14-member authority’s board is expected to consider the recommendation Nov. 14.
The chief operating officer would handle day-to-day responsibilities, while the chief executive officer would focus on policy matters. Officials also view the chief operating officer as someone who would be groomed as a replacement to the CEO upon retirement.
Because of the possibility that the chief operating officer could someday become CEO, the Policy Committee asked that the LVCVA board have a role in that person’s selection. Under current policy, the CEO would select the chief operating officer.
The revamping of the LVCVA C-suite began in January 2016 and has seen the promotion and hiring of four people. Former Senior Vice President of Finance Rana Lacer was elevated to chief financial officer in January 2016. Barbara Bolender was hired as chief human resource officer in April 2016. Jacqueline Peterson was hired as chief communications officer in March 2017, and legal counsel Luke Puschnig was promoted to the C-suite level in August.
The last hire is imminent, CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said Monday.
Steve Hill, who heads the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and said he would leave that office in January, is a reported candidate for the chief operating officer position. He was one of about 20 people interviewed for the job.
Committee members debated for 40 minutes Monday on succession plans and the LVCVA board’s role in choosing leadership. Currently, the board conducts annual evaluations and makes compensation recommendations for the CEO. Ralenkotter evaluates and makes recommendations for the legal counsel, and those are approved by the full board.
Committee member John Marz, a Henderson city councilman, made the recommendation to consider hiring a chief marketing officer to oversee the LVCVA’s marketing and advertising initiatives. Other committee members indicated they wanted to explore the idea.
Ralenkotter said the proposal would likely be introduced to the Compensation Committee for consideration at a future date.
‘I’m not retiring yet’
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said the discussion about hiring an eventual successor and reports about his health have led to speculation that he’s getting ready to retire.
But on Monday, he said don’t plan on that just yet. He also acknowledged his ongoing battle with cancer for the first time publicly.
“There seems to be some concern that my health is going to force me to resign from the LVCVA,” Ralenkotter said at the beginning of a Policy Committee discussion about combining the president and chief operating officer roles.
“There’s nothing farther from the truth,” he said. “The papers did indicate I’ve been battling cancer for a year. Actually, it’s been six years, but thanks to great doctors, my wife and our family and support, all of my cancer’s in remission and so I’m moving forward with what I’m doing.
“I’m telling people I’m not going to retire anytime soon and I have big scissors in my office that’s ready to cut the ribbon to the new expansion,” he said of the Las Vegas Convention Center District, which is being discussed Tuesday.