April 19, 2006

The Newport Beach (Calif.) Conference and Visitors Bureau has selected Gary Sherwin as president and CEO. Most recently, Sherwin ran a destination-branding company called Believable Brands. Before that, he was vice president of market development at the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority and resigned amidst bureau turmoil. Sherwin began his new job on Monday.

The board of the Convention Industry Council has selected a new management company. Management Options Inc. will replace Association Management Group beginning May 1. MOI plans to create an online application and registration service by the end of the summer for planners seeking the Certified Meeting Professional designation; the company also will work to assist implementation of the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX). The CIC's staff will remain the same, but they will move from McLean, Va., to MOI's offices in Washington, D.C. "There will be easy access for people coming to visit us," said Mary Power, president and CEO, who added that she is excited about the change.

A 3,000-seat amphitheater will open June 1 at the Lyon (France) Convention Center. The venue, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, increases the center's exhibit space to 90,720 square feet and gives it a total of 26 breakout rooms. The new amphitheater will be the center's third; it currently has two amphitheaters that seat 300 and 900, respectively.

The James Chicago opens on April 20. The 297-room hotel, on the corner of Rush and Ontario streets, offers David Burke's Primehouse restaurant, a spa, a bar, 7,000 square feet of event space for up to 300 people and a gym designed by Equinox Fitness founder Danny Errico.

Christopher Baum has joined the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau as senior vice president, sales and marketing. Baum most recently served as director of travel advertising for the New Yorker magazine. Previously, he held vice president-level positions at Sonesta International Hotels and Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

The Boulders Resort in Carefree, Ariz., is going organic. New chef de cuisine Wendy Little has been hired to create an all-organic "honest food" menu for the property's Latilla Restaurant, which will then be extended to the rest of the resort. Plans include the planting of large-scale gardens on the grounds for growing produce and herbs for the kitchens.