Skift Take

The Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau will need to find a leader with a long experience in managing crisis management.

Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau CEO and President John Monahan is stepping down effective December 31, the bureau announced Thursday. Monahan has been at the helm for 20 years.

Tom Mullen, the senior vice president and chief operating officer, will be taking over starting January 1.

Monahan led the bureau through the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2008 financial crisis, and the closing of air carriers ATA and Aloha. “It has been a tremendous run the past 20 years,” said Monahan in a statement.

Monahan leaves as Hawaii wrestles with the aftermath of the tragic August wildfires in West Maui. The island is dealing with a collapsed tourism sector and a shortage of housing for the wildfire survivors.

Outgoing Hawaii Visitors & Conventions CEO and President John Monahan
CEO John Monahan. Source: Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau.

Battle for Hawaii’s Tourism Marketing Future

Under his term, the bureau saved its contract as Hawaii Tourism Authority’s chief marketer to the U.S. mainland, the island’s largest source market. 

In 2022, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, under then-CEO John De Fries, tried to replace the bureau with a local community group. The authority combined responsibilities for marketing and destination management into one contract. It then awarded the contract to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

The convention bureau was unhappy and stalled the contract’s implementation through legal protests. Hawaii Tourism Authority was going to go through with its new partner. A government official canceled it at the last minute, citing the need for two contracts.

The authority restarted the process with two contracts. The bureau won the marketing one, which is worth over $38 million.


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: execs, executives, hawaii, tourism

Photo credit: John Monahan Jelle de Gier / Unsplash

Up Next

Loading next stories