Jonathan Sloan has stepped down as chairman of Visit USA for the UK after more than three years.

The move is to avoid any perceived conflict of interest following the appointment of Hills Balfour as UK and Ireland representative of Brand USA.

Sloan is managing director of the travel representation and public relations firm Hills Balfour.

British Airways head of consumer sales Chris Rankin has become interim chairman while a permanent appointment is sought.

Visit USA (UK) is reviewing its current rules governing the qualification criteria to hold a director role, with the aim of discussing these rules before the next annual general meeting on September 28.

The board said Sloan had been an “excellent” chairman. “His contribution and commitment to the organisation is commended by the board,” it said in a statement.