Meeting Professionals International's Professional Education Conference β€” Europe in Davos, Switzerland, March 26 to 28, marked the culmination of a year of growth for the association's European arm.

At the meeting, MPI announced a new chapter in Spain, its 67th chapter worldwide and 11th in Europe. MPI European Council President Caroline Hill also reported that European membership surpassed 1,550, well above projections of 1,400. And the MPI Foundation Europe Capitol Campaign, launched in December 2004, ended with the Davos meeting, exceeding its goal of $606,000 by reaching $727,000.

While MPI used PEC-Europe to kick off its new Member Solutions program for European members, much attention was focused on a complementary service β€” the CultureActive Tool, which will give MPI members feedback on the personal and business traits of more than 60 cultures, with the objective of developing successful intercultural relationships. The rollout of the CultureActive Tool has been put off until later this year to avoid conflict with the launch of Member Solutions.

During the meeting's general session, MPI Chairwoman and Maritz Travel Co. CEO Christine Duffy reassured European members that the sudden departure in March of former MPI President and CEO Colin Rorrie before the expiration of his contract represented a decision by the MPI board of directors to go in a different strategic direction, which she said was not uncommon within the American business culture. In an interview during the meeting, Duffy said the MPI board will look to replace Rorrie with a new CEO with broad experience in either the corporate or association world, β€œor a combination of both.”

In the meantime, MPI Chairman-Elect Mark Andrew, CHA, CMP, has taken a leave of absence from Starwood Hotels & Resorts as general manager of the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver (British Columbia), to lead MPI until the new president and CEO is appointed.

If a new president and CEO is not appointed by July 1, Andrew will become 2006 to 2007 chairman of the board as scheduled, and the board will appoint another interim chief staff executive until a new president and CEO is in place.