Despite months of rumors that Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International’s search for a new president and CEO might end up settling on someone of the female persuasion, MPI today announced in a telephone press conference that Colin C. Rorrie, Jr., Ph.D., CAE, executive director, American College of Emergency Physicians, in nearby Irving, Texas, got the job. He'll be replacing Ed Griffin, who had a 12-year run in the position until the board refused 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 an 22,000-member, $18 million-budget association, Rorrie served as board chairman for the American Society of Association Executives in 2001-2002, and recently headed up ASAE’s own executive search team.

Among Rorrie’s initial challenges, according to a press release, 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 be taking over the MPI helm September 1, was chosen, said Briening, 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.

David DuBois, chairman of the MPI Foundation, was named interim chief operating officer of MPI after Griffin's contract expired April 30. He'll continue to lead the association until Rorrie takes over in September.