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 Colin C. Rorrie Jr., PhD, CAE, executive director, American College of Emergency Physicians, in Irving, Texas, had the job. On September 1, he'll replace Ed Griffin, who served 12 years in the position until the board declined to renew his contract last fall.

“MPI is facing a period of profound change,” said Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, MPI's 2003-2004 chairwoman of the board. “We needed someone who could take us through that change, someone who could help us realize our strategic plan, and someone who will look at it as an opportunity to fundamentally change the direction in which the industry has been going.

“Frankly, because of the demographics of MPI [which is more than three-quarters female], we were looking for women as strong candidates,” Breining said, adding that there were women on the short list of six finalists. “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.”

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.”

Rorrie, who will attend MPI's World Education Conference in San Francisco August 3 to 5, was chosen, said Breining, because “he's got 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. He's got the depth that we need to take us further.” She compared his role in helping transform the position of emergency physician from “sort of the stepchild of the medical industry” to an important specialty in its own right, which Breining said was similar to the challenge meeting professionals face today.

MPI's interim chief operating officer, David DuBois, chairman of the MPI Foundation, will continue to lead the association until Rorrie takes over in September.