Who’s Where: Exec Changes at Cruise Planners, Scenic

Scott Koepf
Scott Koepf joined Cruise Planners this week as vice president of strategic development. // Photo by Cruise Planners

It’s been a busy week in executive appointments and changes at travel agencies, cruise lines, hotels and more.

This week Scott Koepf joined Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, as the home-based travel agent franchise network’s vice president of strategic development. In his new role he will lead the company’s training and events team, exploring new opportunities for strategic development and helping Cruise Planners travel agents to continue to develop their franchises. Koepf had most recently served as senior vice president of sales at Avoya Travel, and he has also held leadership roles at Cruise Holidays, Nexion and NACTA.

In other cruise news, Scenic named four key executives for its upcoming luxury expedition yacht, the Scenic Eclipse. Hans Heger will serve as general manager operations, Scenic Discovery Yachts, with responsibility for all operations relating to the Scenic Eclipse fleet, while Guillermo Muro will serve as culinary director. The line also named Frederik Ekelund hotel director and Sonja Altmann operations manager.

Donn J. Takahashi
Donn J. Takahashi

In hotel news, Prince Resorts Hawaii President Donn J. Takahashi has announced he will retire, effective March 31 after 25 years with the company and 46 years in the hospitality industry. Kisan Jo, currently the Hawaii hotel collection’s vice president of finance and administration, will take over as president, with Takahashi remaining in a senior advisory role through March 2019.

Also in Hawaii, Jerry Gibson has been named the new vice president and managing director for Turtle Bay Resort, a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property on Oahu’s North Shore. Gibson has 38 years of hospitality leadership experience, including 25 in Hawaii, most recently as the area vice president for Hilton Hawaii.

Rosewood Hotel Group has named Alissa Guler corporate director of customer relationship management, where she will be responsible for guiding and implementing the customer relationship management strategy for all current and upcoming properties across the company’s four brands. Guler has more than 12 years of sales and marketing experience, beginning her career at the Ritz-Carlton before eventually moving on to become an independent marketing consultant.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts has appointed Rogier Hurkmans as a regional vice president of operations for Continental Europe, reporting to Ken McLaren, Interstate's executive vice president of international operations. Hurkmans has more than 30 years of hospitality experience, most recently as general manager of the Wyndham Dubai Marina and TRYP by Wyndham Dubai.

Playa Largo Resort & Spa, an Autograph Collection property in Key Largo, has named Kerem Kendigelen as its new general manager. Kendigelen has over 15 years of hospitality experience, including multiple roles at Ritz-Carlton.

Blantyre, a member of Relais & Châteaux and the Ocean House Management Collection in Lenox, MA, has named Natalie Ward as its new general manager and Jeremy Berlin as its new executive chef.

In Malaysia, the Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa has appointed Abhay Singh as its new director of food and beverage. He most recently served in the same role at Goa Marriott Resort & Spa, and also helped to launch Marriott India’s first “Meetings Imagined” meetings and events concept.

Hammock Beach Resort, which is just south of St. Augustine in Palm Coast, FL, has named Ty Brassie as its new director of sales and marketing.

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