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Hillsborough selects new tourism director

With less than a year before Tampa hosts its biggest event, Hillsborough County's tourism promotion agency has selected a new leader.

Tampa Bay and Company has tapped Kelly M. Miller as its chief executive. He is the executive vice president and executive director of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau in North Carolina.

The board of directors for the Hillsborough tourism agency must approve Miller's hiring. A spokesman refused to say when the vote will take place. The Asheville agency also declined to provide information on Miller.

Before taking charge of the Asheville agency, Miller directed International Marketing and Olympic Games Marketing for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau for five years. He headed the agency's marketing strategy for the Olympic Games, his resume shows. He also worked as national sales manager for five years with the Atlanta agency. Before that, he owned and operated a music store and worked at a tourism agency in Alaska, his resume shows. He lists an economics degree from the University of Montana.

If confirmed by the Tampa board, Miller will lead the agency's preparations for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa with local leaders on the convention host committee.

Retiring chief executive Paul Catoe headed Tampa Bay and Company for more than a dozen years and will retire Oct. 31. Catoe, 68, said he told the incoming and departing chairs of Tampa Bay and Company in October of his plans to "ride off into the sunset" within a year.

The tourism agency received more than 20 applications for the job but did not enlist the help of a consultant to find national candidates because of the cost. In August, a Tampa lawyer with economic development credentials criticized Tampa Bay and Company for not casting its net wide enough to catch top-shelf talent.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Hillsborough selects new tourism director 10/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 12:19am]

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