New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade has new leadership and plans to open its ranks to more gay groups. The developments come after a gay contingent marched for the first time this year.

Parade organizers said in a release Wednesday that Quinnipiac (KWIHN'-ih-pee-ak) University President John Lahey (LAY'-hee) was elected chairman Tuesday.

He and new vice chairman John Fitzsimons helped arrange for a gay delegation from parade sponsor NBCUniversal to join this year's lineup. That broke a long prohibition on groups with banners identifying them as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Lahey succeeds longtime chairman John Dunleavy, who didn't return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday. Dunleavy had previously expressed reluctance to let gay groups march.

Directors authorized the new leadership to choose a second gay delegation for next year.