Dan O'Byrne to Lead Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau

A national search for the new Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO ended in its own back yard.

The Little Rock Advertising and Promotions Commission hired Dan O'Byrne, former chief marketing officer at the LRCVB, to take over for longtime leader Barry Travis, who is retiring.

O'Byrne has been with the LRCVB for two years serving as chief marketing officer. Before then he worked in Orlando, Fla., for the Tishman Hotel Corp.; in Orlando, Hawaii and New York for Westin Hotels & Resorts; and in New York as a meeting planner with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells.

O'Byrne will officially take the reins Feb. 2.

"The opening of the Clinton Center and all of the economic growth in the city has propelled Little Rock as a tourism and convention destination," O'Byrne said in a news release. "I'm looking forward to a busy 2005 and building on the momentum we have for years to come."

A committee of city leaders — including Mary Beth Ringgold, chair of the Advertising and Promotions Commission; Wally Allen, former chairman of the Advertising and Promotion Commission; city director Dr. Dean Kumpuris; city manager Bruce Moore; and J.L. "Skip" Rutherford, president of the William J. Clinton Foundation — recommended O'Byrne after interviewing candidates screened by a national search committee.

Travis had worked for the Convention and Visitors Bureau for 30 years,

serving as its leader since 1979, and will help with the leadership

transition, serving as chairman emeritus until Feb. 6, 2006, when he

retires.