Meeting Professionals International has named Walgreen Co. executive Paul Van Deventer as its new president and chief executive officer.

He replaces Bruce MacMillan, who stepped down last June after six years with the association. Since then, MPI Chief Operating Officer Cindy D’Aoust has served as president and CEO on an interim basis.

Van Deventer, who starts with MPI on April 29, has been vice president of the Health and Wellness division at the drugstore chain since 2009. He oversaw revenue generation and client retention for Walgreens’ $500 million suite of employer-focused healthcare solutions. He also led the national sales and account management team for the company’s $1 billion prescription benefit management 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, MPI chairman and executive vice president of Associated Luxury Hotels International. 

Before his position with Walgreens, Van Deventer worked for American Express for 22 years. 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 and events group focused on the automotive industry. He also directed American Express’ $3 billion travel and corporate card businesses in Australia and New Zealand. In his last position at American Express, Van Deventer led a team managing $8 billion in global corporate card relationships with the company’s largest multinational customers. His team achieved annual double-digit, top-line revenue growth, while delivering 32 percent year-on-year international growth and $1.9 billion in new sales.

“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,” said Van Deventer. As CEO, he will have responsibility for managing MPI’s operating budget, overseeing all membership programs and services, and charting the association’s growth.  

“MPI has some remarkable strength in its global brand and its chapter networks, and a very dedicated and talented staff,” he said, speaking during a press conference call April 16. “I really look forward to working with all of them as we work to invigorate and engage the MPI membership and expand MPI’s global reach and role as an industry advocate.”

Van Deventer’s international experience was critical in the selection process. “We were very much looking for someone to step into this role who can help us improve and grow outside the U.S.,” Hinton said. “We have a tremendous chapter network and membership community in Europe, but we also know that there are opportunities in places like China, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.” Van Deventer added that the global growth opportunities were one of the things that attracted him to the job.   

Hinton also hopes Van Deventer can forge new relationships with the business community, noting that the new CEO could be “a compelling evangelist for our organization” and “someone who can really speak to the business community and help them understand how meetings and events can truly change the world and impact organizations.”

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 at 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,” said Dominguez. “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.”