TALLAHASSEE — VISIT FLORIDA’s Ken Lawson is leaving his role as CEO in January to take over the reins of the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
As the new Executive Director, Lawson will serve under Governor-elect Ron DeSantis’ administration, and is tasked with helping the state “continue to be an economic powerhouse” and “bringing new businesses to Florida and creating jobs for Floridians,” said DeSantis.
As VISIT FLORIDA’s president and CEO, Lawson led Florida’s official destination marketing organization in partnership with its Board of Directors and the statewide tourism industry. According to DeSantis, while under Lawson’s leadership, the state was able to create more than 1.6 million private-sector jobs and set new visitation records.
VISIT FLORIDA said it is just beginning a search for Lawson’s successor. An interim CEO has yet to be named.
Lawson first joined VISIT FLORIDA in January 2017 following a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors. His appointment came after the resignation of three Visit Florida executives in the wake of the Pitbull scandal, which resulted in outgoing Governor Rick Scott calling for the resignation of Lawson’s predecessor, Will Seccombe.