Downtown Greensboro Inc. President Jason Cannon is resigning from the organization, Board Chair Gary Brame announced this afternoon.
Cannon, who took the helm of the downtown booster organization in October 2013, is stepping down to pursue an opportunity in “Legislative and Economic Development Consulting,” according to a press release sent out by DGI today.
Cannon joined DGI after a period of turmoil for the organization in which city council initiated several changes and called for more “visionary” leadership. Cannon, who many were familiar with from his lobbying work for the Greensboro Partnership, was lauded as a new hope for DGI, but there have been continuing challenges for the organization that was seeking to redefine its mission and purpose.
DGI recently hired Cyndy Hayworth as the director of operations, filling a newly created No. 2 position at the organization. She will serve as the organization’s interim president and CEO, the press release said. Details about Cannon’s departure are not yet available, including any information about whether he will receive a severance package.
Past board chair Sam Simpson resigned from the board last month, and the board subsequently purged its two leading internal critics and wave makers, Simonne McClinton and Eric Robert. Even after a mid-year retreat in 2014 when the board redefined the organization’s priorities to focus on specific elements of economic development, DGI struggled to show concrete action.
After the board declined to ask him back for another term, Robert questioned the accuracy of Cannon’s résumé, claiming Cannon lied about having a master’s degree from NC State when he applied for the DGI position. Cannon declined to comment, even when the question was raised by Greensboro City Councilman and DGI liaison Zack Matheny, but Brame denied it on his behalf and elaborated. A press release from DGI in September 2013 when he was hired mistakenly said Cannon obtained the degree, but Cannon did complete the master’s from NC State in December 2014.
Cannon could not be reached for comment, and Brame could not immediately be reached to answer additional questions.