Dr Heeley takes up office in August and he will initiate implementation of ECM's three year strategy 2011-2013 approved by the General Assembly in Las Palmas last June. At the same time, he will work to ensure ECM consolidates its unique position as a highly cost-effective pan-European network within which city tourist offices and convention bureaux can benchmark themselves and exchange best practice and other information.

A priority for Dr Heeley will be to maintain the high quality of ECM's annual events programme, especially the day-long seminars which form the centrepiece of its spring and autumn meetings and its flagship annual conference.

Dr Heeley will also advise the Board on the feasibility of re-locating its Head Office. Upon resolution of this issue, ECM intend to make a permanent replacement to the CEO post.

The President of European Cities Marketing, Mr Dieter Hardt-Stremayr said today: "We are delighted to have secured John's services as Interim CEO. As a city marketer, he is respected internationally as an academic, practitioner and consultant. He will help us to keep the momentum of growth in numbers and of continuous improvement to the quality of service delivery - the twin planks of the Association's new three year strategy".

Dr Heeley says: "I am thrilled by this opportunity.  As a member of ECM between 2002-2009, I drew enormous benefit from attending its meetings, taking back ideas and information which helped the cities I then served to remain competitive and up-to-date as urban tourism destinations. I hope over the forthcoming year I can put more than a little back into ECM as it pursues its ambitious three year strategy!"

Dr Heeley is the Director of Best Destination Marketing, and his book entitled ‘Inside City Tourism: a European perspective' is to be published next year by Channel View Publications. His career in city marketing has spanned academe and industry, and over a nineteen year period 1990-2009 he set up from scratch destination marketing organisations for the cities of Sheffield, Coventry, Birmingham, and Nottingham.