White, a Booneville resident at one time, is perhaps best known as the founder of the Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade, which benefits the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children and attracts visitors from around the country to Jackson each year.
MDA says in a news release Friday that White brings more than 40 years of experience in the economic development and tourism industries. He will begin his new position effective Jan. 14.
White previously served for seven years as the executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission.
White is also co-founder and manager of Hal and Mal's, a downtown Jackson restaurant and entertainment venue