Brand USA has announced the appointment of Tom Garzilli as the agency’s new chief marketing officer. Garzilli, who joined the organization in February 2013, had served served as senior vice president, global partnerships. Prior to joining Brand USA, Garzilli was a managing partner with Custom Marketing Group, a destination, marketing and custom publishing company he co-founded in 1991. Prior to that, he was vice president, marketing for American Express Vacations. Garzilli succeeds David Whitaker, who held the CMO position for little more than a year before taking on the post last week of president and CEO of Choose Chicago.
Lara Salamano has been named the new chief marketing officer at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which oversees the state’s tourism marketing efforts. Salamano succeeds Betsy Wall, who was fir last April after a promotional campaign themed “Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer” was met with both criticism and derision. Among the campaign’s offenses was the use of stock footage filmed in Iceland for a Rhode Island video. Salamano, who apparently has no background in the travel and tourism, leaves her job as vice president, partner marketing for Pop, a joint venture of CBS Corporation and Lionsgate. She is a veteran entertainment marketer working primarily for large corporate media companies in New York City.
Mark Schwab, a member of the Brand USA board of directors, will retire the end of 2016, from his post as CEO of Star Alliances Services, the airline group that includes United, Airlines, Air China, Air India, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Air Canada and 27 other carriers. Succeeding Schwab will be Jeffrey Goh, 47, who is currently chief operating officer and general counsel for Star Alliance. Before joining Star Alliance, Schwab held numerous senior-level positions in the airline industry at United Airlines, US Airways and American Airlines.
Reed Exhibitions has announced the promotion of Fernando Fischer as president of the company in Brazil. His predecessor, Juan Pablo de Vera, takes over as senior vice president of business development for Latin America. Both will report to the current president for the Americas (Americas RX), Hervé Sedky. Prior to joining Reed Exhibitions, Fischer served as CEO of various sectors and countries and also in the development of startups. He will lead the strategy of focusing on supporting sectors and clients, portfolio diversification and development of strong brands events.
Wasserstein Partners has acquired Northstar Travel Group from the Wicks Group of Companies. The Secaucus, New Jersey-based Northstar owns a range of brands including the Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, Business Travel News and Travel Weekly China, as well as research, business intelligence and event producer Phocuswright. Wasserstein & Co. is an independent private equity and investment firm, with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Northstar’s current management team, including CEO Tom Kemp, will remain in place.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority has appointed Kalani Kaanaana as its new director of cultural affairs—a move that follows by some six months the abrupt and controversial departure of Keli’i Wilson from the position. Wilson is a Native Hawaiian whose parents were pioneers in the Hawaiian language immersion program. Kaanaana from graduated Kailua High School and from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is fluent in Hawaiian and served as a student marshal for the Hawaiinuiakea College of Hawaiian Knowledge. Kaanaana also served as a legislative aide to State Rep. Ken Ito and State Rep. Pono Chong.
Kate Hartley recently joined Phoenix, Arizona-based DETOURS as director of marketing. Previously, Hartley, who began her career in the travel and tourism industry working as a front desk agent, reservations manager and group rooms coordinator for Hilton Hotels, served as director of public relations for Local Motors Inc., a Phoenix area customizer of sport and luxury vehicles.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has named Brandstory Asia as its representative in Hong Kong. Reene Ho Phang is managing director of the firm, which has represented a number of U.S. destinations in China and Hong Kong. “It’s the right time to have an office here because we believe Hawaii is a destination that millennials as well as ordinary Hong Kong travelers who want new experience and adventures need,” Randy Baldemore, HTA’s chief operating officer, told TTG Asia.
The São Paulo-based operator Agaxtur has announced the appointment of Magda Nassar as its new vice president of marketing and provider of products. Nassar, who also serves as president of Braztoa (Associação Brasileira das Operadoras de Turismo/Brazilian Tour Operators Association), brings with her part of the brand Soft Travel into the Agaxtur, following a merger of the two.
Gráinne Caffrey is leaving her post as account manager at Lowcostbeds to join Sunway Holidays in early July in Dublin where she’ll be involved with Club Med, AMA Rivercruise, Trafalgar escorted tours, G Adventure, Neilson, Sunsail and Mark Warner holidays. A veteran of more than 25 years in the tour and travel industry, Caffrey’s resumé includes tenures with such companies as Inghams and Falcon Holidays.
Marian DiPietro recently joined Blair Hotels in Cody, Wyoming as a manager. She joined from Mayflower Tours, where she served for six years, lastly as tour director. DiPietro is best known for her many years at Tourco, a receptive tour operator that was based in Nobleboro, Maine. Along with her husband, Jerry, she was a co-owner of the company, which she also served as executive vice-president.
(Note: You’ll find wall-to-wall coverage of IPW in the next issue of the Inbound Report, which will appear in two weeks. Watch for it.)