Update: McNichol named convention center authority CEO

John J. McNichol was named the president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority today by the agency’s board of directors.

McNichol, of Glen Mills, had served as the vice chairman of the board of directors and was serving in an unpaid capacity as acting President and CEO since December. His new role becomes effective March 1 and reportedly will pay him a salary of $220,000 with benefits.

McNichol is the son of the late John F. McNichol, the longtime chairman of the Upper Darby Republican Party. He is a partner at Greenlee Partners, a Philadelphia-based lobbying firm.

“The Pennsylvania Convention Center is a real asset to the state and the region, and we are on the path to helping the Center reach its full potential as a major economic driver for the region,” McNichol said in a statement. “I see so much potential here at the Center and, while we have our challenges, I look forward to the opportunity to have a substantial impact on our region.”

McNichol will provide general administrative oversight of the authority’s staff and coordinate the convention center’s activities with stakeholders.

Gregory J. Fox, chairman of the PCCA board of directors, issued a statement saying McNichol has been an integral part of the board’s efforts to ensure the Pennsylvania Convention Center is a regional economic driver in the hospitality industry.

“After meeting with and talking with a number of candidates, it became clear to me that we already had the best candidate right here all along,” Fox said. “John’s expertise and knowledge of the Center, his relationships with stakeholders, leadership skills, and expertise in state government will be important assets to the Center as we work to enhance the customer experience and attract more shows and conventions to Philadelphia.”

McNichol took a significant pay cut and divested himself as a partner at Greenlee Partners to take the position, according to a press release announcing his hire.

The convention center remains under contract with SMG, a facility management company that privately manages and operates the facility. SMG replaced former CEO Ahmeenah Young, of Philadelphia, when it began running the center in December, but retained the majority of the center’s staff to oversee day-to-day operations.

The PCCA maintains a group of employees who oversee SMG, capital improvements to the building, financial reporting and interaction with stakeholders. The center is a state-owned building.

The board also elected Josh Shapiro to fill McNichol’s vacancy as vice chairman. Shapiro is the chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

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