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Joe D’Alessandro Named President and CEO of SFCVB

Joe D’Alessandro has been appointed president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) effective July 5, 2006. D’Alessandro succeeds John A. Marks who is retiring after 19 years with the Bureau.


Joe D’Alessandro has been appointed president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) effective July 5, 2006. D’Alessandro succeeds John A. Marks who is retiring after 19 years with the Bureau.

Joe D’Alessandro, 50, has been president & CEO of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association (POVA), Oregon’s largest destination marketing organization, since April 1996. During his 10 years at POVA, D’Alessandro oversaw an association whose marketing efforts dramatically grew the region’s annual tourism revenues from $1.2 billion to more than $3 billion. Visitor spending in San Francisco is currently $6.73 billion. 

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said, "I am pleased to welcome Joe to San Francisco. His extensive experience in the tourism industry is matched by his energy and creative vision for marketing San Francisco. Joe is a great addition to our city family." 

"The breadth of Joe’s background will be invaluable to San Francisco," said Jon Handlery, past chairman of the SFCVB, senior vice president and general manager of the Handlery Union Square Hotel and chairman of the search committee. 

"In addition to extensive experience working with city and state tourism organizations, Joe understands the importance of the partnership between the Bureau and the City of San Francisco, which benefits all of its businesses and residents. His expertise extends from international tourism to the latest marketing tools and techniques." 

"Joe’s selection as the new president of the SFCVB presents the best opportunity to continue the Bureau’s strong legacy as the country’s most professional and productive city marketing organization," added Rick Swig, 2005-2006 SFCVB chairman and president of RSBA & Associates. 

Prior to joining POVA, D’Alessandro served as executive director of the Oregon Tourism Commission and as international program manager for the California Office of Tourism. D’Alessandro currently serves as chair of the Portland Bologna Sister City Association, co-chair of the Portland International Air Service Committee and sits on the Oregon Tourism Commission and Portland Business Alliance board of directors. He is past chair of the Oregon Tourism Commission and of the National Council of Destination Organizations. He has also served on numerous other boards, including the Travel Industry Association of America, the NIKE World Masters Games, the Portland Rose Festival Association, the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Organization and the Oregon Trail Coordinating Council, among others. 

D’Alessandro’s success in the industry was honored last month when Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski presented the 2005 Governor’s Tourism Award to him at the 22nd Annual Governor’s Tourism Conference. 

In 1995, D’Alessandro was voted State Travel Director of the Year by the National Council of State Travel Directors, and in 2005 he was honored by the Oregon Counselor Corps for his efforts to internationalize Oregon. D’Alessandro was personally knighted by the president of Portugal, Mario Soares in 1989. He is a graduate of California State University at Sacramento and has also attended universities in France and Italy. He has a 22-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son and lives with his partner. 

The SFCVB, founded in 1909, is San Francisco’s official visitor promotion agency, working to enhance the city’s economy by promoting and selling San Francisco as a site for conventions and tradeshows and as a destination for pleasure travelers. With 1,700 members and an annual budget of $13.6 million, the Bureau is one of the largest membership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country and employs a staff of 69. 

In 2005, the Bureau booked more than 2 million confirmed group room nights for future years. Average occupancy for the year was at 76 percent at an average room rate of $153 and the city welcomed more than 16 million visitors who spent $6 billion in the city. 

Marks announced in December, 2005 that he would be retiring from the SFCVB. A nine-member search committee headed by Jon Handlery was immediately formed. The committee hired Heidrick & Struggles, providers of senior-level executive search and leadership consulting services, to assist with the replacement process. 

The SFCVB business offices are located at One Front Street, Suite 2900, San Francisco, CA 94111. For more information, call 415-974-6900 or visit