Solid Energy's former chairman John Palmer is to oversee the merging of two groups tasked with driving Nelson's economic development.
Nelson Tasman Tourism and the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency are to become one new council-controlled organisation.
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese said tourism was a critical part of the region's economy, and it made no sense to have it separate from the development agency.
"One of the things that I struggle with is tourism being seen as, perhaps not economic development. Tourism is a critical part of our economy so I don't think it's useful in some ways to have the separation,"
She supported the appointment of Mr Palmer as chairman of the oversight group, because of his depth of understanding of the region's economy.