PBEC stays,
chief goes

The Pacific Basin Economic
Council will keep its headquarters
in Honolulu, but let its president go

The Pacific Basic Economic Council has decided to keep its head office in Honolulu, for now, but is not keeping its Hawaii-born president, Dalton Tanonaka.

Tanonaka said he was ousted after a PBEC board battle at the organization's international general meeting earlier this week in Seoul, South Korea.

One reason was his "back-room advocacy" for keeping PBEC's international secretariat in Honolulu, despite the requirement of his chief executive position that he remain publicly neutral on the issue, Tanonaka said yesterday.

But there were also differences of opinion with board members, Tanonaka said in an e-mailed statement.

Tanonaka, 48, a former print and broadcast journalist, was named PBEC president on Oct. 31 last year.

He said at the time that one of his big challenges would be to try to keep the organization in Hawaii in the face of growing pressure from members, who include some of the biggest names in Asian business, to move the office closer to their bases.

The PBEC members heard a pitch from Ray Jefferson, deputy director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, to keep the headquarters in Hawaii.

Tanonaka said a motion was passed to give the matter more study, meaning there will be no shift in the near future.

PBEC has been promoted as Hawaii's trade window to Asia.

Formed in 1967 and headquartered in Honolulu since 1992, PBEC is an international organization of senior business leaders representing 1,000 major corporations in 20 "economies" around the Pacific.

Cities in Asia have been courting PBEC's headquarters because of its prestige, offering such incentives as rent-free office space.


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