SearchWide Global Tapped by VisitDallas to Find New CEO

September 27, 2019 – After suffering a massive hit during the Great Recession, employment and hiring within the travel, hotel and hospitality industry continues to rebound. Last year, according to one set of survey metrics, the industry added more than 527,000 jobs (2.6 million since 2004). That number is likely to increase this year as global tourism and traveling in general are expected to rise.

Overall, the travel and hospitality market is estimated to generate an economic impact of $6.5 trillion worldwide this year. In the U.S. alone, the $1.5 trillion industry accounts for nearly eight million jobs – more than five percent of the total jobs nationwide. This has created a massive uptick of hiring within the travel sector.

Recently, executive recruiting firm SearchWide Global was selected by VisitDallas to lead its search for a new president and CEO. Former airline executive and veteran business and civic leader Sam Coats is currently serving as the organization’s interim CEO. Mike Gamble, president and chief executive officer of SearchWide Global, is leading the assignment.

The president and CEO is responsible for the overall management of Visit Dallas, including budget oversight, strategic direction and implementation, staff supervision, community and government relations, and board governance. The individual serves as lead spokesperson for the agency and is a passionate and involved advocate for the convention and tourism industry locally, regionally and nationally.

In addition, the leader must “establish and maintain ongoing effective communications with state and local government leaders, business leaders, travel trade professionals, convention and event planners, and with state, regional, national and international industry leaders,” said SearchWide.

The ideal candidate must have knowledge of the travel and tourism industry, its distribution channels and its customer base. The search firm said that prospects should have more than 10 years of leadership experience specifically within a sales and marketing focused organization and 10 to 15 years of related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Further, experience working with boards and/or multiple stakeholder groups, including local elected officials is necessary. VisitDallas also wants candidates with a background in building an inclusive workforce of diverse employees that are empowered to make valuable contributions while reaching their fullest potential.

The organization wants someone with exceptional problem-solving skills who possesses a desire and willingness to learn. The ideal prospect would be a passionate and an inspirational leader who can support and act within a team environment.

VisitDallas’ mission is to market Dallas as the ideal convention and visitor destination to the regional, national and international marketplace and to favorably impact the Dallas economy through meetings and tourism.

Recruiters Focused on Travel, Tourism & Hotels

SearchWide Global is a full service executive search firm primarily for companies in Destination Organizations / Hotels & Resorts / Venue Management / Experiential Marketing, Tradeshow & Exhibition / Industry Associations / Sports & Entertainment. Specializing in C-Level and Director level executive searches for companies ranging in size from Fortune 500 corporations to mid-sized public and private companies and associations. Founded in 1999, SearchWide Global is headquartered in the Twin Cities and operates worldwide.


SearchWide Global Finds CEO for Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Recently, SearchWide Global placed Martha Sheridan as president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Mike Gamble, president and chief executive officer of SearchWide Global, led the assignment along with vice president Kellie Henderson.


The firm recently filled chief executive officer positions for Visit Aurora, Visit Baltimore, the Greater Newark Convention Center & Visitors Bureau, Visit West Hollywood, Kentucky State Fair Board, and the Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. SearchWide Global is currently engaged in searches for top leaders at the Mobile Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Empire State Building Co., among others.

SearchWide Global has also unveiled a new recruiting service specifically for customers looking to fill management roles quickly. The new service, SearchWide Connect, brings speed of placement to the market, without sacrificing the quality of candidates, said the search firm. “This division of SearchWide is led by a team of young and smart industry professionals who exhibit the ability to quickly find tomorrow’s industry leaders,” said Mr. Gamble. “With unemployment at an all-time low and the war on talent at an all-time high, speed to market is critically important to many of our clients, especially in the hotel and resort sector.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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