After a comprehensive search, the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Board of Directors has appointed a new president and CEO to fill the top leadership role for the largest global meetings and events industry association.
Most recently, Paul Van Deventer served as a vice president in the Health and Wellness Division at Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in the U.S. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing revenue generation and client retention for Walgreens’ $500 million suite of employer-focused healthcare solutions. During his tenure at Walgreens, Van Deventer also led the national sales and account management team for the company’s $1 billion Prescription Benefit Management (PBN) subsidiary, Walgreens Health Initiative.
“Having led business groups for blue chip Fortune 100 companies, Paul is a seasoned senior executive with both international and travel industry experience and a proven track record for driving growth, creating brand value and developing high-performing, engaged teams from the inside out,” said Kevin Hinton, chairman, MPI, and executive vice president, Associated Luxury Hotels International.
Earlier in his career, Van Deventer spent 22 years with American Express. While there, he had direct experience with the business travel sector and meetings and events when, as senior director of multinational sales and operations, he led a $350 million global business unit with responsibility for more than 50 business travel customer service centers, 500 employees and a meetings/events group focused on the automotive industry. He also spent two years directing American Express’ $3 billion travel and corporate card businesses in Australia and New Zealand. In his last position at American Express, Mr. Van Deventer built and led a team managing $8 billion in global corporate card relationships with the company’s largest multinational customers.
“Paul is client-focused, smart and engaging, possessing the skills and experience to build strong relationships and transform businesses,” said Hinton. “We believe he’s the right leader to leverage our existing strengths and strategy to broaden MPI’s impact – be it through new partnerships, products or market opportunities. He will be a compelling evangelist for MPI, as we look to expand our engagement with members, chapters, the business community and the broader meetings and events industry.”
Van Deventer will begin his new role leading the association’s global staff, which includes offices in Europe and Canada, on April 29. As CEO, he will have responsibility for managing MPI’s operating budget, while overseeing all membership programs and services and working closely with MPI’s Board of Directors to guide the association’s vision and industry growth. He will also serve as liaison to the MPI Foundation, dedicated to advancing the meetings and event profession.
“The search committee looked at a broad array of candidates within and outside the industry,” said Michael Dominguez, MPI CEO Search Committee Chair, and senior vice president of sales, MGM Resorts International. “Our primary focus was to find a high-caliber, globally-minded leader with exceptional communications skills, brand building experience and the ability to drive incremental growth and engagement. Paul was that person. We believe he will prove to be a collaborative leader whose conviction, focus and intensity aligns well with the job at hand at MPI.”
Van Deventer added that he feels fortunate to be stepping into a strong organization primed for continued success.
“MPI has a rich history of industry leadership, education and best practice facilitation, led by a group of passionate and engaged volunteers and professional staff,” he said. “I am excited to be returning to my meetings and travel roots to help leverage MPI’s strong brand and vibrant chapter network to invigorate and engage MPI members and expand MPI’s global reach and role as an industry advocate.”