The Hawaii Tourism Authority today named two more hires marking the first time since March that the state agency has had all three of its top positions filled.
Keith Regan has been appointed chief administrative officer and Karen Hughes as vice president of marketing and product development. Their hires follow the recent appointment of Chris Tatum, a former Marriott hotel executive, to serve as the state agency’s president and CEO.
The HTA said salary information for the three will be withheld until their contracts have been finalized. Hughes and Regan are slated to begin work on Dec. 17.
Former HTA President and CEO George Szigeti, who was hired in May 2015 and was making $297,684 a year, left HTA on Oct. 31 after the board voted to terminate his contract early. The agency already had been grappling with the abrupt resignations of former Chief Operating Officer Randy Baldemor, who left in March, and former Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Dance, who left in May.
HTA Board Chair Rick Fried said dozens of candidates had applied for the vacancies through an executive search that the employment firm Inkinen & Associates launched on July 27. Tatum was hired first so that he could provide input on the finalists for the other two executive positions.
“With Keith Regan and Karen Hughes joining Chris Tatum, we have an outstanding executive team in place to lead HTA in doing the critically important work of supporting the Hawaii brand, marketing travel to the Hawaiian Islands, and managing tourism for the state of Hawaii,” Fried said in a statement.
Regan, who served most recently as the managing director for Maui County, will be relocating to Oahu where he will oversee HTA’s operations, which include operation and maintenance of the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
Hughes is a Hawaii tourism industry veteran of nearly 20 years. Her past experience includes serving as vice president of Meet Hawaii and travel industry partnerships for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and as a regional vice president for sales and marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
In her new role at HTA, Hughes will focus on tourism marketing strategy and planning, tourism industry research, development of new experiences, and administering and coordinating tourism programs that support leisure and group travel.