Concepcion back as MVA chief


Christopher A. Concepcion

Christopher A. Concepcion, who is currently deputy director of the CNMI Office of Planning and Development, will resume his role as Marianas Visitors Authority’s executive director next week.

Concepcion, who resigned from his post at MVA in 2019, confirmed in a text that he is set to resume his role as acting MVA chief.

“MVA will issue a press release soon,” said Concepcion.

Saipan Tribune tried to reach out to MVA board chair Gloria Cavanagh for confirmation and a statement, but the MVA chair has yet to respond.

Concepcion resigned as MVA managing director back on March 12, 2019. He became the managing director in April 2016.

Concepcion and his team at MVA managed to achieve major milestones during his tenure, chief of which when they finally secured direct air service from Japan via Skymark Airlines.

Skymark was the first Japanese carrier to operate flights to Saipan since Japan Airlines withdrew from the market in 2005.

Replacing Concepcion a few months later was Priscilla Iakopo who, after three years as executive director, resigned in October 2022, in support of her husband, former CNMI Office of Veterans Affairs executive officer Stanley T. Iakopo, who had also resigned.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, Stanley T. Iakopo resigned on Sept. 26, stating that he and former governor Ralph DLG Torres no longer share the same values and principles with respect to good order and discipline.

Iakopo’s ascent as MVA chief came at a challenging time, with the CNMI rebuilding the Japan market with the entry of Skymark Airlines, a weakened Korea market, which suffered after the CNMI figured in international news in the wake of Super Typhoon Yutu in October last year, and a comparatively weaker China market.

During the absence of an executive director, MVA’s deputy executive director Judy Torres stepped up to the plate.

During her time as acting executive director, Torres helped MVA further revive its tourism industry, which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Super Typhoon Yutu just a year before.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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