James P. Christensen, a Salt Lake businessman and former mission president in Tonga, will become president and general manager of the Polynesian Cultural Center, effective July 1.

The appointment, also made public Friday in Laie, Hawaii, was announced by Elder Marvin J. Ashton, chairman of the center board and a member of the Council of the Twelve, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Christensen, 54, succeeds Ralph G. Rodgers Jr., who will return to Salt Lake City after five years at the center. Christensen, a licensed professional engineer, is president and co-owner of Christensen-Combs Corp., a national financial consulting firm. He and his wife, Metta, are parents of five sons.

From 1969 to 1972 he was president of the Tongan Mission, now known as the Tonga Nukualofa Mission.

"We are pleased to have a man of James Christensen's broad business and church experience as the new president of the cultural center," Elder Ashton said. "He is enthusiastic about this new professional activity among the Polynesian people, whom the Christensens love so much. In this 25th anniversary year we know the cultural and educational work of the center will move forward under President Christensen's direction on the strong foundation laid by his predecessors."