Who’s Where in Travel: New Execs at Virgin Atlantic, VWT

Hiring sign
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There have been a number of new executive leadership appointments in the travel industry this week.

Virgin Atlantic has named Shai Weiss as the airline’s new CEO, effective January 1, 2019. Weiss, who is currently the airline’s EVP and chief commercial officer, as well as a member of its board of directors, will take over for current CEO Craig Kreeger, who is retiring. Kreeger will stay on to assist with the transition until December 31, 2018. Shai, who has been with the airline since August 2012, will oversee its new Velocity plan, which will see the airline expand its four-way joint venture partnership with Delta and Air France - KLM

Patrick Fragale
Patrick Fragale

In agency news, this week Valerie Wilson Travel hired former Protravel International President Patrick Fragale as its new senior vice president. Fragale helmed Protravel from July 2014 through June 2016, and he also served as the president and chief operating officer of Direct Travel from 1993 to 2013. In his new role Fragale will work closely with Valerie Wilson Travel Co-President and Co-Owner Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, focusing on business development, as well as serve as a member of the travel agency’s executive committee.

In other air travel news, this week Air Italy hired Ron Glickman to the newly created role of country sales manager - USA. Glickman, who has over 10 years of travel industry experience, will work to increase sales in the United States, where the airline has just launched direct flights from New York and Miami to Milan

In cruise news, this week Regent Seven Seas Cruises named Joe Chabus director of public relations. Chabus most recently led brand reputation efforts for McDonald’s, and he has also held senior communication positions with Darden Restaurants and Universal Orlando Resort

In hotel news, Loews Hotels made two executive appointments this week. The company named Dan Kornick chief information officer, and Gary Womack senior vice president, design and construction. Previously, Kornick was CIO for TracFone Wireless, the largest pre-paid wireless service in the United States. Prior to TracFone, Kornick held positions with Prudential Financial, Wyndham Worldwide Hotel Group, and Cendant’s Vacation Rental Group in Europe. Womack has overseen projects across 22 different hotel brands in 36 cities totaling more than $1.4 billion in value. He arrived at Loews Hotels & Co after serving as co-founder and managing principal of Acumen Development Partners.

Almanac Hotels, a new hospitality company developing hotels in Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Zagreb, has hired Jean-Paul Dantil as its vice president of operations. Dantil hails from Ritz-Carlton, where he was the general manager for the company’s hotel in Bahrain and, prior to that, Vienna. He will also serve as the opening general manager for Almanac’s new Vienna hotel. 

A number of other hotels also made sales and leadership appointments this week:

  • Loews’ Universal’s Aventura Hotel announced its executive leadership team. Helmed by Managing Director Stephen Cummings, the team will also include Raj Mehta as director of rooms; David McKeever as director of food and beverage; Mouhssine Benhamacht as executive chef; Jake Plata as director of housekeeping; Elroy Dalmida as director of engineering; Stephanie Legros as director of human resources; and Joseph Romano as director of finance. 
  • In Hawaii, Montage Kapalua Bay named Roger Bright its new director of sales and marketing. 
  • Finally, in Menlo Park, California, Scott Wallen was named the hotel manager of Rosewood Sand Hill

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