Houston First CEO Claims She Was Improperly Dismissed

Houston First CEO Claims She Was Improperly Dismissed

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HOUSTON (CelebrityAccess) Dawn Ullrich, CEO of the City of Houston’s Houston First Corporation, the city’s convention and tourism bureau, recently announced her retirement Feb. 13 but claims she was improperly dismissed

Ullrich has retained a lawyer and is expected to challenge the decision made by board chairman David Mincberg, according to the Houston Chronicle, claiming only the mayor has the authority to discharged her; Ullrich planned to retire at the end of the year.

“Houston First has acted unlawfully,” attorney David Feldman told the paper. “We are determining how to proceed against them.”

Ullrich informed the board by letter Feb. 6 that she would retire from the position she has held since 2011 on Dec. 31 and Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote, “Though I hate to hear of your retirement, at least you will continue until the end of year.”

Mincberg, however, told the Chronicle he didn’t want a “lame-duck CEO.”

Ullrich fired back in an email: “Your effort to treat my notice of retirement as a letter of resignation that you could put into effect immediately is unlawful, discriminatory and retaliatory. … You will be hearing from my counsel shortly with respect to the action you have taken.”

Ullrich was a veteran of the city’s Legal and Convention & Entertainment Facilities Departments and her tenure included the Super Bowl last year, a renovation of the George R. Brown Convention Center, the debut of the Marriott Marquis Houston, and landmark tourism initiatives, according to the IAVM. Challenges for Ullrich’s replacement include rebuilding the Houston Theater District, damaged by Hurricane Harvey. It plans to announce a new CEO “as part of an overall drive to make its operations more forward-looking and efficient,” according to a statement.

Houston First was created by the city to manage the 11 facilities it owns including the convention center, the Hilton Americas-Houston, Miller Outdoor Theatre, and the Wortham Theater Center.

The agency has announced Brenda Bazan, the chief financial officer of Houston First, as its new CEO Feb. 15 .

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