Matthias Rotter has stepped down from his post as DER Touristik’s managing director for European and long-distance business. Rotter is leaving the company immediately, by “mutual agreement.” Rotter first joined the company as a trainee in 1986. He left DER Touristik between 1999, when 2003 he was responsible for cruises, long-haul holidays and city trips at Thomas Cook.
Ruth Hilton has been promoted to head of commercial UK at travel and event management company The Appointment Group (TAG). Hilton, who previously worked for Trafalgar and Insight Vacations as sales and business development director, joined TAG a year ago as a consultant heading up Private Travel, TAG’s leisure division. In her new role, she will also oversee the UK’s supplier relations, fares desk, corporate sales and marketing teams, and manage supplier relationships and new corporate business.
Matt Harding, former head of Freedom Travel Group, which was a part of the now-defunct tour operator Thomas Cook, has joined Travel Counsellors as head of strategy for independent agents. In the new role, Harding will be tasked with building on Travel Counsellors’ success of attracting independent agency owners to its homeworking business model. Harding was head of Freedom for a year and prior to that was senior manager of business operations from April 2017. The Freedom travel agency consortium collapsed as part of the Thomas Cook Group in September.
Joe Robinson has been named chief growth officer at RocketRez—a relatively recent (late 2011) startup based in Nashville featuring a platform that processes customer sales. He joins the company from Redeam, where he served for a little more than a year. Previously, he was senior vice president at BIG Bus Tours, where he served for almost 5 years.
René Herzog, who stepped down from his job as CEO of Central Europe for DER Touristik and took a brief break from work, will become a senior advisor for the Boston Consulting Group beginning in January. Herzog spent a total of 15 years at TUI during two different stints—from 2001-2007 and from 2010-May 2019.
Isaac Pacheco has been named director of sales at The National September 11 Memorial & Museum. He joins the organization from Hornblower Cruises and events, where he was national sales manager. Previously, Pacheco was tour and travel sales manager for Entertainment Cruises, where he served for nearly a dozen years.
Louisville Tourism has hired Jessica Morgan as tourism development director. Prior to her appointment, Morgan operated her own business for several years. She has considerable experience in the travel and tourism industry, have once served as the vice president of industry relations for the U.S. Travel Association in Washington, D.C. and as marketing and public relations director for the Bradenton Area CVB.
Duncan Bureau has been tapped to be the new senior vice president global sales and distribution, for Etihad Airways, which has become a major connector/feeder of air passenger traffic into North America via its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE. Bureau had recently served as president of Air Canada Rouge, and as vice president, global sales, Air Canada. He was also senior vice president, global sales and distribution for Malaysia Airlines. He also held several different senior positions during a 10-year tenure with WestJet Airlines.
Barbara Finn has been appointed managing director of Debut Journeys, a network of independent luxury travel advisors and a division of Travel Professionals International (TPI). She joins the company from The Luxury Travel Agency. Finn’s résumé includes senior positions at various Canadian travel companies.
Hotelbeds has appointed Richard Solomons as a non-executive member of its advisory board. Solomons also becomes president of the Hotelbeds Advisory Committee. Solomons had previously served as CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group from 2011 to 2017, where he was previously its chief financial officer. He was most recently president of Rentokil Initial plc, a publicly traded company in the London Stock Exchange and is a component of the FTSE 100 index. The Hotelbeds non-executive advisory committee was established in 2016 after Hotelbeds became an independent company backed by the Cinven and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) investment funds.
Charlotte Peltier has joined the Paris-headquartered Directours, a brand of the tour operator NG Travel that sells North American product, as director of production and business development. Peltier, who previously worked for Directours from 2002 and 2006, has also held a senior position at the Karavel Group’s B2C operation and, recently, she was tours package manager at Perfecstay.
James Zale has been promoted to the position of chief digital officer for Visit Philadelphia, the regional DMO that promotes the Greater Philadelphia. Zale, who moved up from his job as senior vice president, digital strategy, has been with Visit Philadelphia for more than 17 years.
Gisel Vidals has been appointed business development head at OYO USA. She comes to the post from Big Bus Tours, where she was head of global sales. She served at Big Bus Tours for more than five years. Previously, Vidals served in several senior-level sales and marketing positions at such companies as Skyline Sightseeing NYC and SuperShuttle.
John Felice has been hired as director, leisure sales, Western Canada, for Vision Travel. Widely known in Canada and the USA, Felice is a travel and tourism industry veteran whose résumé includes 17 years as a membership of the leadership team of CruiseShipCenters. Vision Travel is a Direct Travel company. Direct Travel was recently listed at #9 on the Travel Weekly Power List with sales of $5.4 billion last year.
Oscar R. Perez Laffarge has been appointed contract manager-sourcing, Canada, at Hotelbeds. He joins from Portland, Maine-based Creative Travel, where he was president and CEO for 10 years. Previously, he was director of product contracting for Tourco.
Eric Gordon has been named director of travel agency strategy at Hornblower Experiences in New York. He comes to the company after spending 16 years with Beyond Times Square, lastly as executive vice president of business development.
British Airways has hired Mark Muren as head of global sales. Uren will join later this year from United Airlines where he was managing director of global accounts. He will report into chief commercial officer Andrew Brem and oversee the airline’s relationships with agents, travel management companies and corporations.
Ensemble Travel Group has announced the appointment of Una O’Leary as vice president of supplier relations. In this new role and in keeping with the consortia’s commitment in this area, she will oversee supplier partnerships with a focus on growing existing relationships and building new ones as well. Familiar with the U.S. travel and tourism industry, O’Leary was most recently with Carlson Wagonlit Travel since 2014 where she held positions as senior director, marketing and strategic partnerships and previously as senior director, marketing and supplier management, North American leisure. Prior to that, O’Leary held positions with American Express Travel Partner Network (TPN) and AmEx Canada Inc.
Effective Jan. 1, 2020, Martina Grönegres will become the new managing director of Lufthansa City Center International (LCCI). Grönegres succeeds Uwe Müller, who took over the LCCI management in 2017 for 3 years and who will go into preretirement in January 2020. Grönegres began her career with Lufthansa in 1996 in Frankfurt, with a senior position in the company group strategy. Over the years, she has worked in Peking and Shanghai, where she opened the Lufthansa Service Center in Grönegres, transferring back to Berlin. In January 2016. she additionally assumed the additional sales management for the NRW territory. Since September 2016, the Manager has been responsible for regional Sales Services as senior director sales services DACH and global accounts of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Lufthansa City Center (LCC) is one of the worldwide largest independent franchise systems in the travel agency market with over 570 offices in 95 countries, and is active in the areas of both leisure and corporate travel and tourism.
Andrew Pickering, long-time Thomas Cook media and partnerships manager, has joined the tour operator Vacations to America as product and partnerships manager. Pickering joined Thomas Cook in 1999 and stayed with the company, save for a tenure of less than a year with Planet Destinations, until Cook shut down in September.