Who’s Where in Travel: SeaWorld’s CEO Search, Jeffrey Gillies Joins Coral Expeditions

Coral Expeditions New Ship Rendering
Coral Expeditions named a new commercial director this week.

SeaWorld’s CEO search leads this week news on executive changes in the travel industry.

SeaWorld reports that its current Chief Parks Operations Officer, John T. Reilly, will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a successor to President and CEO Joel Manby, who has stepped down. The Board of Directors has engaged an executive search firm to assist.

In cruise news, Australian expedition cruise operator Coral Expeditions has named Jeffery Gillies as its new commercial director. He joins the cruise line from Ironman Asia-Pacific, where he served as chief marketing officer and head of global partnerships.


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Heather Garboden

In air travel news, American Airlines announced two appointments this week. The airline named Peter Warlick as vice president – corporate development and Heather Garboden as vice president – financial planning and analysis. Warlick has held a variety of positions at American since joining the airline in 1994, including treasurer and vice president – fleet planning. Garboden is currently vice president – financial planning. Her expanded role will add new responsibilities overseeing the labor analysis, financial analysis and fleet planning teams.

Online booking company TST has realigned its organization as part of a new strategic direction for the company. Instead of providing TST Consumer and TST Agent booking engines only to member organizations, going forward the company will attempt to introduce its technology to the broader market. The executive changes are:

  • Jon Steelman, who joined TST as CTO in 2013, expands his responsibilities to include the overall management of the company.
  • Roy Fields is appointed Vice President of Finance for TST to lead the finance and accounting teams.
  • Sarah Nosari will lead the product and innovation teams as Director, Product Delivery and Management
  • Tarak Reddy is now Director, Implementation and Support for TST.
  • Sean Bloomer, a recent addition to TST, is appointed Vice President of Sales & Marketing.

In hotel news, Hard Rock International has named Danielle Babilino as its new senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos. Babilino has nearly 20 years of executive sales and business development experience, most recently as executive vice president of sales and marketing for Alon Las Vegas, a proposed luxury hotel and casino planned for the Las Vegas strip.

Kelly Sanders

In Hawaii, real estate investment and hospitality management company Hawaii at Highgate has named Kelly Sanders as its new vice president of operations. Sanders comes to Highgate after 21 years with Starwood / Marriott.

A number of hotels have also named new general managers this week:

  • Awet Sium has moved from the Kimpton Donovan Hotel in Washington, DC, to oversee the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa.
  • Mohan Koka has joined Kimpton to become general manager of the Kimpton Surfcomber Miami, South Beach.
  • Kimpton Ink48 Hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, has named Nick Ivezaj as its new general manager.
  • The Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center has appointed Harmut Ott as its new GM.
  • Finally, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco has named Rodrigo Rizzi as its new general manager.

In terms of sales contacts, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami has appointed Martin Jakubczak as its new director of sales. San Diego’s Kona Kai Resort & Spa has named Noble House veteran Lou Cirelli to its director of sales role.

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