Cooler + Warmer = Fired … Rhode Island’s CMO is out. On March 28, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation rolled out its new destination marketing slogan, “Rhode Island: Cooler & Warmer,” along with a video that confused more than enough people, contained enough mistakes (the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik, Iceland was portrayed as a Rhode Island backdrop) and cost more than it should have, according to some, that the state’s governor asked Betsy Wall, the Commerce Corporation’s chief marketing officer, for her resignation. Wall, who came to her new job only last December, had previously served for eight years as executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.
In a very sad turn of events, Jim Ricketts, who served as director of the Virginia Beach CVB for 28 years (he had worked at the bureau for more than 40 years) and announced his retirement late last year, passed away following a brief illness on March 24, just a week before his planned retirement date of April 1. He was 75.
Brad Van Dommelen, who had earlier been named to succeed Jim Ricketts, is taking over the post following the death of Ricketts. Van Dommelen, who was selected for the position following a nationwide search, had been the president of the Traverse City (Mich.) CVB since 2005. Van Dommelen officially begins his new job effective April 7.
Jeff Homad has been named vice president of convention sales and services at the Memphis CVB. He joins the bureau with nearly two decades experience in luxury and upscale destination resorts, hotels and vacation rental properties. Most recently, he served as executive director of sales at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla.
Kuoni UK has promoted Helen Roberts to the position of sales director even as it announced proposals to cut jobs in its head office trade sales team following a shake-up of how it deals with agents. Roberts has worked for Kuoni for 12 years and spent several years working in trade sales before her most recent role as head of direct sales, leading the development and implementation of the company’s own network of stores.
Chris Compton, who made a decision several years ago to move to a small Oklahoma community (Woodward) to run a CVB, has reversed course and joined the operations team at City Sightseeing Tours in San Francisco. Compton had served in various destinations in leadership positions for Big Bus Tours for six-and-a-half years before moving to Woodland in a conscious effort to seek a different pace of life.
In France, Jean-Marc Dandurand became deputy general manager of Sprice Travel after serving for 12 years at American Express. Sprice Travel is part of the Uvet group. He will have commercial responsibility and operation of the Uvet activities, including the development of sales and customer operations, marketing, operations and communication. Dandurand began his career with General Electric Capital Fleet Services in 1995.
After a little more than a year in the post, Cássio Oliveira, has left his job as the first executive director of Air Tkt, an association in Brazil that includes 11 of the largest airline consolidators in the country, including Anchorage, Eseratur, Flytour Gapnet and Rextur Advance. “It was a great learning, my mission is partly fulfilled, and the way open for who will replace me,” Oliveira told the Brazilian trade journal Panrotas. Meanwhile, Air Tkt released a statement that said simply: “The Board of Directors of Air Tkt informs that for personal reasons Cassio Salles Oliveira will no longer hold the position of executive director of the entity from 31.03.2016.”