Who’s Where in Travel: Regent’s Next Captain, New at Amex GBT

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Major players in the cruise and business travel space made new executive appointments this week.

This week Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced that its newest luxury cruise ship, the Seven Seas Splendor, will be captained by Serena Melani. The cruise line said that Melani will be the first woman to be appointed captain of a brand-new cruise ship. She is a 20-year veteran of the maritime industry, having been with Regent in 2010, first rising to the rank of captain of her own ship in 2016. The Seven Seas Splendor launches in February 2020. 

In business travel news, this week American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) named Mark McSpadden to the role of vice president of global product strategy and digital experience. Reporting directly to VP Product Strategy and Marketing Evan Konwiser, McSpadden will be responsible for delivering against GBT’s product roadmap and working with the commercial team to drive GBT’s tech value proposition with its global client base. He most recently served as the vice president of direct distribution and digital experience at Sabre. 


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In hotel news, this week Langham Hospitality Group promoted Bob van den Oord to regional vice president, operations - Europe, Middle East and the U.S. He will also continue to serve in his previous role as the managing director of The Langham, London, which recently received a five-star rating from Forbes following a three-year renovation. In his newly expanded role, he will be maximizing both brand awareness and long-term financial growth of current and future hotels in his regions.

Also this week Montage International named Mike Paneri its executive vice president of design and construction, a role in which he will oversee all aspects of design and construction for the company, including properties under the Montage, Pendry and Montage and Pendry Residences brands. He has over 30 years of experience in the development of resort, hotel and hospitality and leisure projects, most recently having spent 14 years as senior vice president of hotel development at Viceroy Hotel Group. 

Finally, a number of individual properties announced new leadership appointments this week: 

  • The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino named Gabriel Castrillon its general manager. 
  • The Hyatt Place Grand Rapids / Downtown, which opens this summer, appointed Lindsay Jarvis as general manager. 
  • Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica, a new luxury resort set to open this fall, named Elizabeth Maisonet its director of global group sales, joining Michael J. Schoonewagen, general manager, and Tracey Fentem, director of sales and marketing.
  • The Hampton Inn & Suites Gainesville-Downtown named Wayne Childs, a former Gainesville resident, its director of sales. 
  • Finally, this week the Havana Cabana at Key West Hotel appointed James E. Moore III as its general manager. 

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