Clovis News

Fresno Visitors Bureau chief resigns for new job

The president and chief executive of the much-troubled Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau is resigning to become an educator in Wisconsin.

Jeff Eben said Thursday he's leaving the bureau's top position to become an elementary school principal in the Racine Unified School District.

Eben is a former principal at Clovis East High School who was Fresno deputy mayor during then-Mayor Alan Autry's second term. He said his resignation is effective July 16.

"It's a tough move, but also exciting," he said. "The CVB is in good shape."

Al Smith, president and chief executive of the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce and a long-time CVB board member, praised Eben's work. "He did a great job in the short time he was there," Smith said.

Eben took the CVB's reins in early 2009, when the bureau was reeling from public relations woes. They included the jailing of a CVB bookkeeper in October 2007 for embezzling nearly $50,000.

Eben said his legacy includes restructuring the CVB and expanding its marketing efforts. But he's leaving before he sees whether the bureau's most ambitious venture works.

The bureau is trying to create a tourism business improvement district, or TBID, in which members pay assessments to fund their own tourism-marketing entity.

If the effort fails, the bureau would close due to lack of funding.