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Tourism Whistler announces permanent president

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Acting president Barrett Fisher accepts the job

After more than six months overseeing Tourism Whistler as the acting president, Barrett Fisher has taken on the role permanently.

"We’re very happy to see where Barrett will take us next," said Rick Clare, chair of the board of directors for Tourism Whistler.

Fisher is the first president of the organization who has been groomed specifically for the job through succession planning.

Before heading up the organization Fisher held several positions with the organization over the past 14 years, including vice president of marketing strategy and business development, vice president of marketing and sales, director of marketing and director of advertising and promotion.

In June she became acting president when Suzanne Denbak resigned from the post after five years.

"The power of succession planning that we had set up from before was that she was being groomed for that position when Suzanne was with us (in case of an emergency)," said Clare.

"The is the first time in the history of the organization that the chairman hasn’t sat in, in the interim."

Clare sees this as a sign of Tourism Whistler maturing, like other companies in Whistler.

"The organization is much more stable and we have a succession plan in place and we also strongly believe in loyalty."

Clare added that Fisher did not get the job based solely on her time and loyalty to Tourism Whistler. The organization hired a headhunting firm to help choose the president and Fisher was the best candidate.

She had expressed her interest in the job at the beginning of the headhunting process.

Clare, who received resumes from across the country, said sometimes it can be a tougher process for the internal candidate who might be asked hard questions that they probably wouldn’t get asked if they weren’t so well known.

He could not reveal how many candidates were shortlisted for the job due to confidentiality issues.

Since the Tourism Whistler board of directors awarded Fisher the position Clare said he has had a lot of positive feedback on the choice.

In the president’s role, Fisher will oversee the operations of the newly renovated Telus Conference Centre at Whistler, the Whistler Activity Centre and Whistler Golf Club, the marketing and sales divisions of Tourism Whistler and the administration of the organization.

Tourism Whistler, a marketing and sales organization with 4,000 members, has had a revolving door of presidents in the past.

Denbak, who was headhunted from Toronto, was the longest serving president after five years on the job.

"I think Tourism Whistler is a strange and hard animal to be with," admits Clare.

Fisher also serves on a number of boards and committees, among them, the Whistler Events Bureau, the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival, One Whistler and Whistler Rail Tours. In addition Fisher is one of 20 people who sit on the board of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games for Vancouver 2010.

Fisher could not be reached this week for comment.

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