MVA has new managing director

THE Marianas Visitors Authority has selected a new managing director, highly placed sources told Variety.

The appointment will be announced next month when the MVA board headed by chair Marian Aldan-Pierce meets on Tinian.

The former MVA managing director, Chris Concepcion, resigned last month after three years at the post.

Asked about Concepcion’s successor, Aldan-Pierce said: “We are in the process of selecting a replacement and are still not ready for any announcement as of yet. Meanwhile, I’ve appointed Mrs. [deputy managing director] Judy Torres as the acting MD until the board appoints a successor for Chris and negotiations are complete.”

Variety learned that there were two applicants for the position.

In a separate interview on Wednesday, Rep. Leepan Guerrero, chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, said he is looking forward to meeting the new MVA managing director.

He said he wants to hear the new tourism chief’s plans, and promotion and marketing strategies.

“We need somebody who knows Japan, South Korea, China and possible new markets for our tourism industry,” he added.

The new MVA managing director, he said, “should be mindful that tourism is the bread and butter of the CNMI, and is the backbone of the local economy.”

Guerrero said Concepcion’s resignation was unfortunate.

“He had been doing an exceptional and honest job and he is capable of improving tourist arrivals.”

He noted that Concepcion succeeded in persuading Skymark Airlines to provide Japan-Saipan charter flights.

“He has excellent PR [public relations] skills, and MVA was moving in the right direction under his leadership.”

Rep. Tina Sablan, in a separate interview, also lauded Concepcion for his leadership at MVA.

“Whoever steps into that position will have big shoes to fill no matter what,” she said, adding that Concepcion did a great job and “will be hard to replace.”

She said MVA needs someone with experience, vision and excellent management skills to lead the tourism agency and help steer the tourism industry to recovery.

Sablan said there are some “very experienced and professional members” on the MVA board and “I hope they would make hiring decisions based on the best person for the job, and not just the most politically connected.”

She added, “They are stakeholders in the tourism industry and it’s in their interests to choose a qualified managing director to lead the agency.”