BILOXI -- SearchWide will help local tourism officials find a new executive director for the Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The CVB board agreed during a special meeting Friday to hire SearchWide, a company that search committee chairman Rich Westfall said is the industry leader in finding executives for the travel and tourism industry.
The Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership agreed to fund up to $50,000 for the search, he said. The fee charged by SearchWide is 30 percent of the candidate's salary, plus expenses.
The Partnership administers the grant provided by BP to Mississippi to promote tourism after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. CVB President Duncan McKenzie said BP gave permission to use some of the funds for the executive search so that South Mississippi will continue to have a successful tourism effort.
While the Partnership will pay the bill, Westfall said the CVB will be in charge of the search, "and choose the final candidate."
The search process is a 12-week, five-step process, but Westfall said he hopes that can be speeded up. SearchWide will interview the CVB directors and staff to determine the qualifications needed for an executive director.
"They'll go out and find the right people to meet that need," he said. The search firm will narrow the selection to about six finalists for the CVB to consider and interview.