Sidebar to Cover Story

After months of rumors about who Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International would name as its new president and CEO, MPI announced in early July that the job would go to Colin C. Rorrie Jr., PhD, CAE, executive director, American College of Emergency Physicians, Irving, Texas. In September, Rorrie will replace Ed Griffin, who served 12 years in the position until the board declined to renew his contract last fall.

“Frankly, because of the demographics of MPI [which is more than three-quarters female], we were looking for women as strong candidates,” says Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, MPI's 2003-2004 chairwoman of the board. There were women on the short list of six finalists, she says. “Although gender was considered, we could not make that the primary qualification. … We were absolutely certain that Colin Rorrie was the best person for this position.”

Rorrie has “a very impressive 30-plus years in the business, and he's had responsibility for staff and budgets that are significantly larger than what MPI currently has,” Breining says. “He's got the depth that we need to take us further.” In addition to managing the 22,000-member, $18 million-budget ACEP, Rorrie served as board chairman for the American Society of Association Executives in 2001-2002.

Among Rorrie's initial challenges, according to MPI's strategic plan, will be to “evolve member careers toward positions of strategic understanding and influence, increase MPI's influence with corporate, association, and other senior-level decision-makers, and intensify business opportunities for industry suppliers.”