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Movers & Shakers: VISIT FLORIDA CEO hits the road, DMS spokesman heads to DC

VISIT FLORIDA president hits the road

VISIT FLORIDA president and CEO Chris Thompson is leaving his post to be president and CEO of Brand USA, a public/private partnership to increase international travel to the United States.

The departure from the state's tourism marketing corporation prompted a mention from Gov. Rick Scott, whose office sent out a press release tying Thompson's promotion to the state's tourism and job numbers.

“Tourism is directly linked to Florida’s employment situation: for every 85 tourists that visit Florida, another job is created," a press release from The Governor's Office states.

“Last year under Thompson’s leadership at VISIT FLORIDA, Florida welcomed a record 87.3 million visitors, and we are on pace for another record-breaking year. In his three years as the head of VISIT FLORIDA, Chris has proven to be a strong organizational leader and coalition builder.  His expertise in fiscal responsibility, his ability to work well with government stakeholders and his keen understanding of the transparency required in a public-private partnership have made VISIT FLORIDA a model for destination marketing organizations worldwide.  His appointment to lead Brand USA is a direct reflection on the success of VISIT FLORIDA and will provide a tremendous opportunity to project those achievements onto a national stage.”

Will Seccombe, currently the chief marketing officer of VISIT FLORIDA, was named interim CEO to serve in Thompson's place. He will begin on November 1, and serve until the board selects a permanent president, the company's board decided Friday. 

DMS communications director goes to DC

Kris Purcell, communications director for the Department of Management Services, is leaving his job for "adventures" in Washington DC.

DMS, the state's administrative agency, pays him $72,000 per year.

"I was in DC for 10 years, mostly at the White House working for President Bush, so I’m looking forward to getting back. But I’ve been proud to serve Governor Scott for the last two plus years," he said.

Movers and Shakers is a weekly blog on political personnel changes. Send tips to bdavis@tampabay.com or via twitter at britt_alana.