Last updated: 10:46 AM ET, Mon March 23 2015

Brand USA Appoints David Whitaker as Chief Marketing Officer

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | March 23, 2015

Brand USA Appoints David Whitaker as Chief Marketing Officer

U.S. destination marketing organization Brand USA has named David Whitaker as its next chief marketing officer.

Whitaker, who replaces Yvonne La Penotiere, will join Brand USA on May 11.

In his new role, Whitaker will work with Brand USA president and CEO Christopher L. Thompson and will be tasked with steering the organization's marketing plan in the right direction. That will comprise overseeing a variety of different aspects, including brand management, consumer marketing and research, among others.

"We look forward to welcoming David to the Brand USA team this May and to benefiting from his experience and expertise as a destination marketing leader," said Thompson in a statement. "Under David’s leadership, both Toronto and Miami realized year-over-year increases in domestic and international visitation for two of North America’s largest cities, and we are fortunate to have him as we take the next step in Brand USA’s evolution as the nation’s destination marketing organization."

"I could not be more thrilled to join the dynamic team at Brand USA," said Whitaker. "Having a chance to help represent our country and assist in inviting the world to visit the USA is both an honor and a privilege."

Whitaker's appointment comes on the heels of his resignation as president and CEO of Toronto's tourism board last week. 

Tourism Toronto's executive vice president Andrew Weir said the hire is "a real testament to what he and we have accomplished in the eight years that he’s been here." One of those accomplishments is breaking Toronto's tourism record last year by attracting 14.3 million overnight visitors.

The industry veteran also helped to successfully market Toronto in China, with 230,000 Chinese travelers visiting the city in 2014, according to Eric Andrew-Gee of the Toronto Star. 

Prior to his success with Tourism Toronto, Whitaker spent nearly two decades with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, where he served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, the title he will take over at Brand USA this spring.

Brand USA is a public-private entity that was established back in 2010 by the Travel Promotion Act. The organization has been operating since May 2011. 

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