Deirdre Wells will leave her role as UKinbound chief executive, to head Go To Places, the destination management organisation responsible for Visit Kent and Visit Herts.
She will succeed Go To Places chief executive Sandra Matthews-Marsh, who announced in March that she will be moving on to “new and exciting personal goals”.
Wells (pictured) will leave UKinbound in August and join Go To Places in September.
She said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UKinbound and have been really pleased at the growth of the association in recent years.
“I would like to thank the members of the secretariat and the board, both past and present, who have helped build the success of the organisation and I am sure it will continue to go from strength to strength.”
She added: “I am delighted to be joining Visit Kent, and Go to Places. I hope to bring a wide network of contacts and a strong understanding of the visitor economy to the role.
“I have witnessed the success of Kent, Hertfordshire and the many partnership programmes in the company’s portfolio over the years, and feel honoured and delighted to have been selected to lead the company onto even greater things.”
Mark McVay, UKinbound chairman, said: “My fellow board members and I would like to thank Deirdre for her dedication to the association over the past four-and-a-half years.
“During that time we have seen significant growth in membership, an exciting new overseas presence at Arabian Travel Market and an increase in revenue which has made the association viable for the long-term. We wish Deirdre every success in her future role.”
The search for Deirdre’s successor will be led by the UKinbound board, which will be supported by experienced recruitment consultants in the non-profit sector.
Jonathan Neame, chairman of Visit Kent, added: “We are delighted to have attracted such a talented and high-profile figure in the tourism industry to lead the business. Deirdre’s knowledge and experience will support the company’s ongoing growth and ambition to continue to be the market leader in destination management and marketing.
“She has held a number of very senior positions in both government and the private sector and she has a strong reputation as a dynamic and effective leader.”
Matthews-Marsh commented: “Deirdre is an impressive leader and passionate advocate of the sector. I simply can’t think of a better qualified person to take the business forward.
“She will be working with a fine team, partnership network and incredibly strong board. So with Deirdre’s passion and flair, the business is in very safe hands.”
• Ola Ewedemi, chief operating officer at UKinbound, will be leaving the association at the end of June to take a career break and go travelling.
McVay said in a statement to members: “I am sure that you will join with me in thanking Ola for her dedication and hard work for the association over the past eight years.
“Whilst I appreciate that this news represents significant change for the association, I am confident that UKinbound is in a strong position and will continue to grow under new leadership.”