Following the departure of former CEO Ellie Westman Chin in January, Visit Franklin announced it has named a new head of the county's visitor and convention bureau.

Maureen Haley Thornton has been named president and CEO of Visit Franklin, according to a June 28 announcement from the organization. Thornton previously served as vice president of strategic tourism initiatives at Visit Houston, was selected by the Visit Franklin board of directors following a national search.

In that role, Thornton developed tourism initiatives such as the Houston Experience Marketplace, a digital platform that curates local experiences, as well as the Houston Insider Program, a local ambassador program to educate residents.

“I could not be more excited to lead the team at Visit Franklin as we look to the future,” Thornton said in a release. “The county already has fantastic assets, and much great work has been done, creating a strong foundation to build on. To come to a place that has so much to offer both professionally and personally is an unbeatable opportunity.”

Andy Marshall, CEO of A. Marshall Hospitality and chair of the Visit Franklin board of directors, said Thornton's experience stood out during the board's national search.


“Maureen had an impressive resume and multiple interviews that revealed great knowledge, innovative ideas, and passion that was exciting to the search committee,” Marshall said in a release.

Thornton will begin in her new role effective July 12, according to Visit Franklin.