Matt Lewis is the new CEO of HospitalityMaine. Courtesy of HospitalityMaine

AUGUSTA — After a national search, Matt Lewis of California has been named president and CEO of HospitalityMaine. He takes over for Steve Hewins, who officially steps down Feb. 12.

The former executive director for Visit Richmond CA has extensive experience in hospitality and tourism. As head of business travel sales leadership for Hotel Nikko San Francisco, he represented the hotel both nationally and internationally for a decade.

“Matt brings a fresh perspective to our industry along with his knowledge and experience from many years working in hospitality,” said Steve DiMillo, the association’s chairman of the board who led the search. “His collaborative experience will benefit not only our members, but other tourism and business groups as well.”

As a visitor to Maine, Lewis was impressed with the state’s rich hospitality heritage. He is poised to help lead Maine’s hospitality industry back as it rebounds from the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

“I am energized by the challenge and look forward to promoting and celebrating exceptional Maine hospitality,” said Lewis. “My thanks to the board of directors, search committee and staff of HospitalityMaine for this incredible honor.”

Hewins served four and a half years at the helm of the 1,000-member association. In 2018, he directed the merger of the Maine Innkeepers Association and the Maine Restaurant Association into HospitalityMaine.

When the pandemic hit last year, Hewins emerged as a leader for struggling hotel and restaurant operators across the state. He co-created the Maine Hospitality, Tourism & Retail Recovery Plan, which helped provide financial aid to scores of operators on the verge of collapse.

“I’ve been honored to lead a talented team and a supportive board of directors during my time here. I remain most proud of the incredible people who comprise our huge industry,” said Hewins. “From frontline employees, to owners, they have persevered during the most challenging economic times they could ever face.”

Hewins will stay on as interim director with the HospitalityMaine Education Foundation. “I look forward to working with Matt as he takes over leadership,” said Hewins. “The work continues to rebuild and restart our hospitality industry, which is so vital to the state’s economy and the Maine brand.”