Effective Jan. 13, 2013, cruise industry veteran Mark Conroy will step down as president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) and shift to a new strategic role as executive advisor to Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH), parent company of both Regent Seven Seas Cruises (www.rssc.com) and Oceania Cruises (www.oceaniacruises.com).
In his new role, Conroy will advise Frank Del Rio, PCH’s chairman and CEO, and Kunal Kamlani, PCH’s president and COO, on a series of core business strategies.
Effective January 31, 2013, Kamlani will assume the role of president of RSSC in addition to his current responsibilities as president of Oceania Cruises.
In addition, RSSC-veteran Randall Soy has been promoted to executive vice president of sales and marketing for RSSC, reporting directly to Kamlani.
Conroy's Achievements, Kamlani's Expanded Role
“Mark is a true professional and respected cruise industry expert who has been the guiding force behind Regent Seven Seas Cruises and its success since the very beginning,” said Del Rio in PCH's official statement on the personnel changes. “His insights into travel agent and guest relations, product development, and sales and marketing strategies have been and will continue to be an invaluable asset across our portfolio of brands.”
Conroy told trade contacts in an e-mail note today that recently he, Del Rio and Kamlani sat down to discuss how to leverage the talent within the organization for the benefit of the two brands.
“At that time, I also expressed my desire to be instrumental in shaping larger strategic initiatives while cutting back on the day-to-day responsibilities of running an international cruise line and the extensive travel that comes with the job,” said Conroy.
Conroy said he’s entering his new role with confidence that the day-to-day running of the RSSC brand is in the capable hands of a seasoned team. “RSSC has come a long way since we launched the Radisson Diamond in 1992,” he noted.
“Since then, we have built the best management and sales and marketing teams in the industry," Conroy said. "We have also retained the best officers and crew at sea who deliver the luxury cruise experience that your clients have come to expect from us 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.”
Ruth Turpin, owner of Cruises Etc., Fort Worth, TX, said Conroy has been the "ultimate supporter" for travel agents and for Virtuoso. "In fact, with his help, we held our annual owner/managers' meeting on the Mariner this last April, and it was a big success," she noted.
Turpin added this about Conroy: "He has been a leader in the industry, and I will personally miss him at the helm of Regent. He is also a personal friend, and I am so glad he will still be a big part of Regent and Prestige."
Brian Robertson, certified travel consultant and owner, Robertson International Travel Consultants, Santa Barbara, CA, said Conroy will be remembered as a president who lasted throughout the cruise industry’s many tides.
His tenacity and perseverance in this highly volatile industry along with excellence in leadership will definitely put Mark Conroy in the Travel Industry Hall of Fame (should one ever be created),” Robertson said.“The amazing thing about Mark is his stealth vision to continue developing a brand.
Robertson continued: “We wish him all the best in his continued efforts to be a leader in this great industry and his unwavering support of the travel agency distribution system.”
Sally Goldwasser, owner, Unique Travel of Palm Beach, FL, said she called Conroy at home to wish him the best and said this of the long-time RSSC executive: “Of all the cruise line executives Mark is the most accessible. He encourages us to go to him even if we do not want to bother him. His rapport with agents will be extremely hard to follow."
Goldwasser said she knows Conroy and his wife deserve more time to themselves. "I will miss Mark in this position but I know he will continue to be there for us," she added.
Conroy said that while RSSC will always be a part of who he is, it’s the right time for him to personally take a broader role.
He also told travel agents and industry partners that “our partnership with you and the commitment to our guests have always come first. I have worked side by side with Kunal and, in fact, many of you already know him." Conroy said agents should have full confidence that moving forward, the client will continue to be the top priority.
Del Rio said that since Kamlani rejoined PCH he has delivered innovations for guests and travel agents including the company’s new anti-rebating policy across both brands, the expansion of the Oceania Club loyalty program and the launch of the second new vessel in Oceania’s history.
Promotion for RSSC's Soy
In his new role, Soy will be directly responsible for all marketing, sales and e-commerce strategies for RSSC. He's the company’s longest-tenured employee at more than 22 years.
“Randall is extremely well-respected within the company and by our travel agent partners,” Del Rio said, noting that he's confident that under the new leadership, the RSSC team will continue to deliver the extraordinary sales and marketing support that our travel partners have come to expect as the brand prepares for an entirely new phase of growth.”
Soy began his career with Seven Seas Cruise Line in 1990 and has held a variety of progressive senior roles including director of national accounts and group sales, vice president of channel sales and most recently, senior vice president of sales for Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
While at RSCC, Soy initiated the company’s first business development manager team; launched the brand’s Seven Seas Council top producer program; and expanded the company’s investment and resources for national and key accounts.
Conroy told agents that Soy is the ideal candidate to support their sales and marketing efforts “as we continue to grow our respective businesses together.”