A number of promotions and all-new leadership appointments lead this week’s executive news in the travel industry.
This week Princess Cruises promoted Ryan Fitzgerald to the role of director, entertainment operations, overseeing the entertainment leadership and programming for all 17 ships in the cruise line’s fleet. He first joined the cruise line in 2015 as the manager of cruise staff and programming, leading the restructuring of the cruise line’s onboard entertainment teams to include two key positions: entertainment director and cruise director, a move that Princess says resulted in continuously higher guest satisfaction scores. He also launched new game shows and new experiences across the fleet.
Travel Edge made a major promotion of its own this week: Grace Chang rose from VP finance to SVP finance, effective immediately. Chang served in her previous position over the past year, making substantial improvements to the company’s financial management practices during that time, Travel Edge said. In her new role she will continue to oversee the company’s financial operations while building new processes to support its global business, with a particular focus on evolving the company’s treasury function, managing currency risk and improving merchant processing efficiencies.
In hotel news, Outrigger Hospitality made two major appointments this week. Julia Davidson joined the company as vice president, brand strategic planning and development, following a stint as director of marketing for IHG Army Hotels. She will oversee the company’s in-house brand services team, alongside external creative agencies that support Outrigger’s brand portfolio. Also joining the Outrigger team this week was Natalie Caceres, who is now the sales director of the Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk.
In Mexico, this week the new KASA Hotel Collection hired Pablo Gonzalez as its chief marketing officer. He most recently served as the director of sales and marketing for the Colibri Boutique Hotels in Tulum and Nicaragua, and he will be responsible for KASA’s positioning and growth via both traditional and digital marketing and engagement. KASA Hotel Collection currently operates one hotel in Tulum, with a second to open this June in the Riviera Maya, a third this September, and two more in 2020.
Also this week, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation made two new appointments: Mike Fruin as vice president of operations for the extended stay Sonesta ES Suites brand and Georgia Lobban as senior director of global sales. Fruin has a great deal of experience in the extended stay space, having served as general manager at several Residence Inns by Marriot, as well as leading the development, planning and feasibility for Marriott extended stay and select service brands. Lobban had been overseeing global sales efforts for Sonesta on an interim basis; before joining the company, she managed her own firm for 10 years, optimizing several large and small sales organizations, in addition to building sales infrastructure for IHG and implementing IHG’s groups and meetings sales proposition for their portfolio of brands.
This week the luxury hospitality brand Timbers Resorts named Damon Kolb its development manager and Ryan Bell its corporate director of asset management as part of the company’s expansion plan, which includes a relocation of the company’s headquarters to Winter Park, FL. The two new hires will help spearhead efforts to grow the brand into the country’s Eastern Seaboard, as well as into the Caribbean and Europe.
A number of individual properties also made new leadership appointments this week:
- Leandro Livschitz was named the general manager of the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen. Former GM Juan Mercadante has been promoted and will lead the new Andaz Gangnam, which opens this September in Seoul.
- Bawah Reserve in Singapore announced the appointment of Raymond Saja as general manager.
- Dream Hotel Group hired Nobert Mede as general manager of Heritage House Resort & Spa in northern California.
Finally, in air travel news, this week Delta named Tim Mapes its chief marketing and communications officer, effective May 1. John E. “Ned” Walker, who is currently serving in that role, will retire that day.