The man who approved the state's $1 million deal with Miami superstar Pitbull agreed on Tuesday to leave his job.
The 31-member board of directors of Visit Florida, the state's tourism agency, voted Tuesday on paying its CEO, Will Seccombe a $73,000 severance package. That's a fraction of the $440,000 that he could have made for in a job that paid him $293,000.
In naming a replacement, Visit Florida chairman William Talbert III said he talked to Florida Gov. Rick Scott last Thursday and said he supported making Ken Lawson new CEO. The board then approved Lawson.
In hiring Lawson, Visit Florida board members stress he knows how to walk halls in Tallahassee and understands politics and state government.
"We have things to do and we are going to do it together," new Visit Florida CEO Ken Lawson said after the board hired him.
Board members said the move was politically necessary to save future funding.
Seccombe and the agency came under fire over a mostly secret contract with Pitbull that paid the entertainer $1 million to promote Florida in music videos and on social media. Seccombe said the deal helped Visit Florida reach millions of Pitbull fans who avoid traditional media.
Despite record tourism, lawmakers increasingly grew criticial of Visit Florida's spending, which was exemplified by the Pitbull contract.
The board agreed to pay Lawson $175,000, or $120,000 less than Seccombe had made.