The Hawaii Tourism Authority has recruited Marriott veteran Chris Tatum as its new president and chief executive.

Tatum moved to Hawaii in his youth and his career spans 37 years at Marriott, where he is currently the area general manager for Marriott Resorts Hawaii.

He has also served as area vice-president of Hawaii, Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Utah, North Asia and the South Pacific, and has had other management roles with the hotel chain in Malaysia and Australia.

Tatum was appointed after a four-month search and review of more than 100 candidates to find a new leader of the agency responsible for managing tourism for the state of Hawaii.

He is expected to begin work at HTA by the end of December.

Tatum said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference in my home by developing a sustainable brand strategy that enhances the visitor experience, while preserving our way of life.”

He is also the current chairman of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and previously served as chairman of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association and Oahu Visitors Bureau.

Rick Fried, HTA board chair, commented: “Chris Tatum has an ideal combination of qualities, experience and dedication to service that is needed to lead the Hawaii Tourism Authority forward, and the ability to guide the future direction of our state’s most important industry in serving the interests of residents on all islands.”