Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has named Rich Doucette as the state’s new executive director of travel & tourism. He reports to Jay Ash, secretary of Housing & Economic Development. Doucette replaces Betsy Wall, who held the position for the last seven years. Doucette has an extensive marketing background, having organized The Boston Cup Classic Car Show on the Boston Common and headed Shoppers Marketing, which helped companies in the downtown Boston area.
In Chicago, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, also known as McPier—it operates the Navy Pier, the city’s most visited attraction, which draws more than 9 million visitors annually—has hired Chicagoan Lori Healey as its new chief executive. Healey, who previously served as chief of staff to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, took over from veteran Jim Reilly, who retired after three years in the position. Reilly had also served as McPier’s CEO from 1989 to 1999, and was also president and CEO of the Chicago CVB for several years. Before her appointment, Healey was CEO of Chicago-based investment firm Tur Partners, founded by Daley and his son Patrick; she also served as executive director of the NATO summit host committee.
Mike Waterman has been named president of the Greater Houston CVB and executive vice-president of Houston First Corporation (HFC). Last year, the CVB and HFC boards approved a strategic alignment between the two organizations. As part of that agreement, CVB employees became employees of HFC while the bureau maintained its own board of directors and gained seats on the HFC board. Waterman comes to the position from Marriott International where he most recently served as vice-president of sales for the Southwest region.
Abta (formerly the Association of British Travel Agents) has appointed Victoria Bacon as its new head of brand and business development. Bacon, who left Abta just months ago, will focus on the development of the “Abta Travel with Confidence” brand, and on Abta’s commercial activities as well as directing the communications function
Sunwing Travel Group has announced the appointment of Stuart Morris as general manager, Morris will responsible for the group’s retail division which comprises the full service travel agency, SellOffVacations.com and specialist wedding planners, Luxe Destination Weddings.
Amanda Wills, described by Sir Richard Branson as “a legend within the travel industry” has joined the board of travel-themed social network talkholiday. Wills was the managing director of Virgin Holidays for 13 years until her departure in 2014. She joins talkholiday in a non-executive role with a brief to increase brand awareness through commercial partnerships and as the principal strategist in the travel sector.