TORONTO — After a four-month search for a new agency leader, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has announced Chris Tatum as its new president and chief executive.
Tatum, who beat out over 100 candidates, takes over the role previously held by George D. Szigeti, whose term ended in October.
Starting at the end of December, Tatum will be responsible for managing tourism for the Aloha State. He currently serves as chairman of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as well as the general manager for Marriott Resorts Hawaii, where he’s enjoyed a 37-year career.
He has also served as the opening resident manager of the Kauai Marriott Resort and the JW Marriott in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as the opening general manager for the Brisbane Marriott Hotel in Australia. Other posts include chairman of both the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association and the Oahu Visitors Bureau.
“Chris Tatum has an ideal combination of qualities, experience and dedication to service that is needed to lead the Hawaii Tourism Authority forward, and the ability to guide the future direction of our state’s most important industry in serving the interests of residents on all islands,” HTA board chair Rick Fried said in a statement.
Tatum, who moved to Hawaii as a youth and graduated from Radford High School, added: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference in my home by developing a sustainable brand strategy that enhances the visitor’s experience while preserving our way of life.”