Thursday Briefing: Ken Muskat Joins SkySea, CLIA Shuffles Exec Team

Ken Muskat

Today in the travel industry we’re watching a major series of executive appointments. 

Ken Muskat Joins SkySea

SkySea, a cruise line focused on the emerging Chinese cruise market, has appointed Ken Muskat as its new CEO

Previously Travel Agent had reported Muskat’s plans to leave MSC Cruises at the end of 2016 “to pursue a new opportunity.” Muskat had been MSC’s executive vice president of sales, public relations and guest services, based in the line's Fort Lauderdale office. He is also the former chairman of CLIA’s trade relations committee. 

At SkySea Muskat will work to grow the 20-month-old cruise line in the Chinese market, offering vacation experiences the line bills as a “familiar East-meets-West style.” SkySea is a joint venture between OTA Ctrip.com and and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

"Ken Muskat is known for his ability to generate consumer excitement and revenue generation, which are key elements in building a new cruise line and setting the stage for long-term growth," said Min Fan, vice chairman of Ctrip.com and executive chairman of SkySea, in a written release. 

"I look forward to bringing to bear everything I've learned in my career and helping SkySea become a standout performer," Muskat said. "There is an important role for a Chinese-centered brand like this in this large and growing market."

Muskat assumes the role beginning mid-January.

CLIA Adds Two New Members to Global Leadership Team

Meanwhile, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is making some executive moves of its own. The organization has added two new members to its global leadership team. Andy Harmer, former vice president, operations & director, UK & Ireland, has been promoted to senior vice president, membership and Bo Larsen, former vice president, strategic partnerships, has been promoted to senior vice president, strategic partnerships.

Harmer, who joined CLIA in 2006, will be responsible for working with CLIA leaders around the world to oversee all travel agent and professional development programs. Larsen, who joined CLIA in 2014 will manage the strategic direction of CLIA’s Executive Partner program on a global scale.

Both will serve as key members of the leadership team under Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA.

In addition to these two new roles, earlier this year CLIA Global welcomed Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc., as CLIA Global Chair, and CLIA Europe welcomed Tom Fecke, as Secretary General and Kyriakos Anastassiadis, CEO of Celestyal Cruises, as Chair.

Port of New Orleans Names Brandy D. Christian as President and CEO

Finally, in port news, Brandy D. Christian has begun service as the new president and CEO for the Port of New Orleans

Christian’s credentials include broad maritime experience encompassing cargo and cruise operations. Prior to her service as COO with the Port of New Orleans, she held leadership positions with the Port of San Diego for 14 years, culminating in her role as vice president, strategy and business development. During her tenure with California’s fourth-largest cargo port, Christian was the driving force behind securing major accounts for the cruise and cargo business lines at the Port. She was also instrumental in significantly improving operational processes and reducing costs for the public agency.

Christian is the first woman president and CEO in Port NOLA’s 120-year history and one of the few women port directors in the country. She succeeds Gary LaGrange, who served as president and chief executive officer for the past 15 years.

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