Marcel Mayer has been named the new CEO of specialist tour operator Berge & Meer, which was a part of TUI until last year. Mayer’s predecessor in the post, Thomas Klein, has left the company. Mayer joined Berge & Meer just last December as chief product innovation officers. Prior to that he had operated his own consulting firm. Previously, he had served with Tour Vital and TUI.
Bloomin’ Brands Inc. has promoted Sheilina Henry to group vice president, diversity & inclusion. In this newly created position, Henry will lead the company’s efforts toward furthering equality and inclusion in the areas of leadership, talent, training, and education. Henry has over 20 years of experience in restaurant operations, training, and project management. She joined Bloomin’ Brands in 2012 as an Outback Steakhouse Joint Venture Partner. She was promoted to vice president, training and development in 2016 and regional vice president in 2019. Well-known in the tourism industry, Bloomin’ Brands is one of the largest casual dining restaurant companies in the world with a portfolio Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.
Corporate Travel Management (CTM) North America has established a new position in its senior leadership structure, and has appointed Mary Ellen (George) Hess as executive vice president, sales and marketing. The new position was created to bolster the organization’s strong and experienced executive team and position the company for increased top line growth post-COVID-19. Hess joins CTM from Tramada Systems, where she was head of North America for the Australia-based company. Previously, she was senior vice president of global sales, North America, for American Express Global Business Travel. In her new role, Hess will work closely with CTM North America CEO Maureen Brady to drive business growth.
Michael Wale has been named president & CEO of the Abercrombie & Kent Group, effective October 1, 2020. He joins the luxury travel operator from Kerzner International, the owner of Atlantis and One & Only Resorts, where he was CEO. Before joining Kerzner, his career spanned almost 40 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, culminating as President for Europe, Africa & Middle East, directly overseeing the operations of 250 hotels and resorts, for its ten brands, in 60 countries.
Nicola Harper has left her position as head of sales for Beds with Ease. In doing so, she said that she wanted to thank managing director Phil Turner for his support, and her friends and partners in the trade. She had been with the company for nearly two years. Previously, she was trade partnerships manager with the now-defunct Thomas Cook. She also served as national account manager for Attraction World for four-and-a-half years.
It’s been a busy summer at the UK tour operator Inspire My Holiday as the company has recently taken on Lockie Kerr (above, left), former Back-Roads touring sales manager; Tom Dale (center) former head of purchasing for dnata purchasing; and Andy Freeth, former chief of If Only. Kerr was UK and Europe sales manager for Back-Roads Touring, serving the company for four-and-a-half years. Previously, he was with Topdeck, a leading youth touring specialist. Dale worked for dnata for more than three-and-a-half years and previously worked for Best At Travel and Trailfinders. Before his tenure at If Only for nearly two-and-a-half years, Freeth was managing director of Travel 2 and Gold Medal.
Michael Heckman has been appointed as acting president and CEO of the Houston First Corporation, which operates the city’s George R. Brown Convention Center and serves as its DMO. Heckman takes over for Brenda Bazan, who announced last month that she was retiring. Bazan had led Houston First since its creation in 2011. Previously, Heckman had served the agency as senior vice president of partnerships and event development. He also served its predecessor organization, the Greater Houston CVB for five years.
Also at the Houston First Corporation, Angela Wise has been named chief destination officer. She joins the organization from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, where she was vice president of brand marketing for four years. Previously, she served for five years as vice president of brand marketing for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Brad Bennetts is leaving his post as senior sales operations manager at Kuoni. His departure is part of the travel firm’s strategic review and staff consultation triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, Kuoni said. He joined the company in April 2016 as as national sales manager. Chief executive Derek Jones said “We’d like to thank Brad for all of his hard work and support over the past four years and wish him every success for the future.” Kuoni said sales director Helen Roberts is to take a “hands-on role with trade relations” and work closely with Amy Roullier and the sales and training team “as Kuoni evolves its business in partnership with agents.”