The board of directors of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, announced today that George Szigeti has been selected as its next president and CEO.
“Following a thorough and extensive search by the HTA’s CEO Investigative Search Committee, we are pleased that George has accepted the challenge to serve as the next president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority” said Aaron Sala, HTA board chair. “George’s experience in and understanding of the visitor industry, and his extensive business background, all make for an ideal candidate to lead the HTA and ensure a sustainable future for our visitor industry moving forward.”
Szigeti is currently the president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, a position he has held since 2012. He previously served as the president and CEO of Better Brands, a subsidiary of Young’s Market Company, LLC. Szigeti is actively involved in the community, where he currently serves on the board of directors of the Hawaii Food Bank, Hawaii Food Industry Association, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, and others.
“I am honored to be selected by the HTA board of directors and appreciate their show of confidence in me to serve our community and industry as the next head of the Hawaii Tourism Authority,” said Szigeti. “I look forward to working collaboratively with them, the HTA staff, international marketing contractors, visitor industry, lawmakers and stakeholders as we continue positioning Hawaii for future growth, while honoring Hawaiian culture and perpetuating its legacy, traditions and values, especially for our younger generations of visitors and kamaaina.”
Szegiti replaces interim CEO Ronald Williams, former board chair of the HTA, who assumed the position in December 2014, following the departure of Mike McCartney. McCartney served as the HTA’s president and CEO since 2009 until being selected by Governor David Ige to serve as his chief of staff.
In January, the HTA established a seven member search committee to select the next president and CEO that included of HTA Board Chair Aaron Sala, HTA Vice Chairs Lorrie Stone and Craig Nakamura, HTA Board Member L. Richard Fried, KTA Super Stores President and CEO Barry Taniguchi, World of Aloha President and CEO Linda Wong, and Mike McCartney. The selection committee presented the finalist to the HTA board of directors on April 30 and the board voted to select Szigeti at its meeting on May 12.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to extend tremendous aloha to Ron Williams for his dedication and hard-work leading the HTA during this transitional period as we searched for a permanent CEO. Ron’s commitment to the HTA board and staff, Hawaii’s visitor industry, and his service to our community are all indicative of his steadfast love for Hawaii. We very much appreciate him,” added Sala.
Established in 1998, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state’s tourism agency, is responsible for strategically managing tourism to optimize benefits for Hawaii that integrate the interest of visitors, the community and visitor industry. Tourism is the state’s leading economic driver and largest employer and the HTA continually works to ensure its sustainability well into the future. For more information on the HTA, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org