Meeting Professionals International Ousts Five Execs

The dust is almost settled after a quintet of firings and three new hires at Meeting Professionals International. The organization, which is now searching for a new vice president of marketing and brand management — the only position of the vacated five that it is refilling — attributed the staff changes to recently hired president and CEO Bruce MacMillan's decision to take MPI in a new direction.

"We're moving toward creating a global meeting industry community," said MacMillan, who joined the organization last December. MacMillan declined to comment on the firings other than calling them a direction change. A source close to MPI said there's no backstory to the firings and that they were not performance related.

The restructuring included the hiring of a director of advertising and sponsorship sales for Europe — a new position. The firings included regional sales manager John Oliver, who was based in Birmingham, AL, and represented the southern U.S. and Europe.

Others who got the ax were marketing vice president Edjuan Bailey, marketing director Paula Norse, research director Dawn Myers, and information technology analyst Kelly Joslin.

In keeping with MacMillan's global growth plans, the new hires will be given responsibility to extend MPI's reach beyond the U.S.

"MPI does three things: connect members to ideas and knowledge, create and deliver marketplaces, and create great relationships," he said.

The first role will fall on Vicki Hawarden, vice president of knowledge management and member events, who will oversee all educational content after 15 years of directing education, meetings, and conventions at several associations.

"Vicki has led associations that have global reach," MacMillan noted.

Marketplaces will be run by Katie Callahan-Giobbi, former senior vice president of sales, service, and membership at LA Inc., Los Angeles' convention and visitors bureau. Callahan-Giobbi, who replaces David DuBois as executive vice president of the MPI Foundation, will also serve as executive vice president of strategic partnerships, a step beyond the position held by DuBois, who was vice president of sales.

"Katie is a proven sales leader who has connections throughout the world," said MacMillan.

Added DuBois, who left MPI last December to become the new president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, and who calls Callahan-Giobbi a friend, "Katie knows how to manage boards and committees. Hiring her is a brilliant decision."

Contact Rayna Katz at rkatz@meetingnews.com

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