The Palm Beach County Convention &
Visitors Bureau has tapped travel industry veteran Jorge Pesquera
to serve as president and CEO, closing what has been an
embarrassing, tumultuous chapter for the organization.
Pesquera, who will
take office on Nov. 1, is president and CEO of the Aruba Hotel and
Tourism Association, a position he held during the maelstrom of
media attention on the island following the disappearance of
Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in 2005. He was previously
president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.
succeed Jim Stuber, who has been serving as the bureau's interim
administrative director. Stuber, the CVB's outside legal counsel,
was brought in after it was discovered late last year that the
bureau's former controller, Donna Duffer, had embezzled nearly $1.5
million over a three-year period.
That revelation led
to the forced resignations of the bureau's longtime president,
Warren "Mac" McLaughlin, Duffer and Lee Davis, the vice president
An audit later
found "gross mismanagement" at the bureau, which has an annual
operating budget of $10 million.
political fire storm led some local lawmakers to recommend that
Palm Beach County sever ties with Discover Palm Beach County, the
nonprofit company that operates as the CVB. The county ultimately
decided against it.
The bureau is
responsible for promoting the county's $2.8 billion tourism
industry, which generates $22.5 million in bed tax revenue and $623
million in lodging sales each year.
contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].