Greater Miami CVB Taps David Whitaker as New President and CEO

July 20, 2021

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau appointed David Whitaker as its new president and CEO following a six-month executive search by a 14-member committee comprising local business and community leaders who reflect Miami-Dade County’s rich diversity. 

The appointment is a homecoming for Whitaker, who worked for the Greater Miami CVB from 1990-2007, most recently as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He then went on to serve as president and CEO of Tourism Toronto for eight years, and then president and CEO of Choose Chicago for five years.

“David brings back to us a rare and powerful combination: an immense wealth of experience and knowledge of our community, coupled with a significant world of experiences gained from promoting two of North America’s most diverse and global brands in Chicago and Toronto,” said Bruce Orosz, chairman of the GMCVB. 

He continued, “This combination, particularly with both cities he led excelling as major convention and event destinations, will help our hospitality industry and our partners take Greater Miami and Miami Beach to the next level.”

Orosz added that Whitaker has also had great success in promoting diverse communities, and he exhibits a powerful passion for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

When Whitaker was at the helm of Tourism Toronto, the organization was voted North America’s top CVB and convention center in a poll of more than 650 meeting planners. Whitaker led successful bids to host an NBA All-Star Game and a Pan American/Parapan American Game. 

During his tenure at Choose Chicago, Whitaker had the responsibility of promoting and selling McCormick Place, the largest convention center in the U.S. Under his leadership, the DMO successfully bid on and hosted an NBA All-Star Game, an MLS All-Star Game, North America’s first Laver Cup international tennis tournament, an NCAA Frozen Four and numerous international soccer and rugby events. 

Meanwhile, Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards has voted Chicago as “Best Big City” to visit for four consecutive years (2017-2020), all of which occurred under Whitaker’s leadership.

Whitaker will assume his new role with the Greater Miami CVB effective August 16, while Bill Talbert, the organization’s current president, will stay onboard in a consultancy capacity until October 2022 to assist Whitaker with transition matters. 

“I am honored, thrilled and blessed to have the opportunity to return home,” Whitaker said. “First and foremost, I have the privilege of following in the footsteps of two amazing mentors and leaders: Merrett Stierheim and Bill Talbert. Secondly, I am joining an incredible team in place with a long legacy and decades of promoting Greater Miami and Miami Beach as one of the world’s most distinctive and desired brands.”

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: