Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Pinellas County’s tourism marking agency, named Jim Dean Interim CEO in a press release Friday morning. Dean will take the helm of the organization following the departure of David Downing, who lead the agency for more than four of his 12 years with the organization. Downing announced last month that he would be taking a position in the private sector. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater’s announcement comes on Downing’s final day on the job. Dean is expected to assume the responsibility of overseeing day-to-day operations on Monday.
Dean brings more then 30 years of hospitality and tourism experience to the agency. He most recently served as President and Corporate Senior Vice President of SeaWorld Orlando. Prior to his position at SeaWorld, Dean served as President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay & Adventure Island from 2010-2017.
Dean has extensive experience in advisory and board roles in Tampa Bay, including the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, the USF Muma College of Business and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. The interim position will be his first in Pinellas County.
The agency will utilize the services of a professional firm to perform a national recruitment search to fill the position permanently. Downing was hired for the position after previously serving as interim CEO.