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Hillsborough tourism agency officials begins search for new CEO

TAMPA — The search for a new CEO to lead Hillsborough County's tourism agency has officially begun.

Tampa Bay and Company board chairman Jim Dean, the president of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, announced that the 15-member executive committee — a group picked from the more than three dozen people who sit on the agency's governing board — met Thursday and set the parameters for the search for a new executive to lead the agency.

They also formed a search committee of local community leaders to start going through the eventual candidates that will be selected by an executive headhunter, Norstrem Associates Executive Recruiters of Tampa.

"We are confident that this team has the skills, dedication and experience needed to ensure an independent and professional process that will help us attract the best candidates from across the country," Dean said in a prepared statement.

Tampa Bay and Company is the $10 million nonprofit that receives 80 percent of its funding from the county's tourist development tax. Its mission is to promote Hillsborough tourism and book the publicly owned Tampa Convention Center.

But the agency has also been without a CEO since Kelly Miller's abrupt resignation on Oct. 31. He spent just 11 months on the job.

Dean will serve on the search committee, along with these members:

• Ron Alicandro, the general manager of the Westin Tampa Bay hotel and a member of Tampa Bay and Company's executive committee.

• Pam Avery, the general manager of the Wyndham Tampa Westshore hotel and vice chair of the agency's governing board.

• Ron Ciganek, senior vice president of USAmeriBank and a past chair of the board.

• Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.

• Joe Lopano, the CEO of Tampa International Airport.

• Sandy MacKinnon, founding CEO of MacKinnon Equipment & Services and a past board chair.

• Bonnie Wise, the chief financial administrator of Hillsborough County and a member of the board's executive committee.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (813) 226-3404.

Hillsborough tourism agency officials begins search for new CEO 12/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:25pm]
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