Who’s Where in Travel: New Leaders at CLIA, Cunard

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Kelly Craighead
Kelly Craighead

It’s been another busy week for executive appointments in the travel industry, particularly in the cruise sector. 

This week Cruise Lines International Organization (CLIA) announced its selection for its next president and CEO: Kelly Craighead, who will replace current CEO Cindy D’Aoust after she steps down at the end of the year. Craighead most recently served as deputy assistant secretary for travel and tourism in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and she was also the first executive director of the National Travel & Tourism Office.

In other cruise news, this week Carnival UK announced a number of senior management changes at Cunard. Simon Palethorpe has been promoted to Cunard’s president; continuing to report to Carnival UK President Josh Weinstein, he will be responsible for overall brand leadership, the end-to-end guest experience and future strategies. The sales and marketing functions at Cunard’s head office will also be consolidated, with the brand’s current VP marketing, Angus Struthers, taking on an additional new UK sales role. Cunard VP of UK Sales and International Development David Rousham will be leaving the company. All of these changes will come into effect December 1. 


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Also this week, Scenic Group appointed Jayne O’Brien to the position of managing director USA, where she will oversee sales & marketing operations of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Scenic Eclipse and Emerald Waterways. Jayne will be based in the company’s Boston office as of December 3 and can be reached at [email protected]. She has served in branding, marketing and commercial leadership roles in several companies, including British Airways, Intercontinental Hotels, Regus PLC and Dubai Properties Group.

In hotel news, this week Hilton appointed Adam Crocini to the newly created role of VP, food and beverage, luxury and lifestyle group. Crocini, who joins Hilton from Capella Hotels and Resorts in Singapore, will serve as the chief strategist and champion for all matters related to food and beverage initiatives for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton.

This week Timbers Resorts named Austin Watkins to the role of global director of sales and marketing. Previously, he has held several high-level at a number of prestigious hospitality companies including Four Seasons Resorts, Hyatt, and Ritz Carlton.

The Enchantment Group, which develops and manages luxury boutique resorts, appointed Matt Vuolo to the role of development manager for five of its properties this week. They are: Enchantment Resort, Mii amo destination spa, and Seven Canyons Luxury Community in Sedona, AZ; The Tides Inn in Irvington, VA; and The Cove, Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Vuolo most recently served as development manager at Bald Mountain Development

Rosewood Hotel Group named Shelley Perkins its chief talent and culture officer this week, putting her in charge of the company’s global human resources organization. Prior to joining Rosewood, Perkins worked at luxury properties in Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and, most recently, Paris

A number of individual properties also made new leadership appointments this week:

  • Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection named Donald Stamets its general manager. 
  • Aqua-Aston Hospitality hired Fred Mayo as the general manager of the Aston at the Maui Banyan
  • Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi named Lutz Arnhold its managing director. 
  • Meliá Hotels International appointed Santiago Rivera as the general manager of the adults-only Meliá Punta Cana Beach and the Meliá Caribe Beach resorts. Both properties will split from the existing Meliá Caribe Tropical resort in the Dominican Republic as of December 15. 

In destination news, this week the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau promoted Jennifer Diaz to vice president of communications. 

Finally, in air travel news, this week American Airlines promoted Steven Graves to VP of enterprise technology services, succeeding Kendall Lock, who assumes the role of VP of airline operations technology from Todd Christy. Christy will retire at the end of the year. 

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