George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, is retiring from his post after more than seven years. He announced the move during a meeting of the organization’s board of directors. Aguel’s contract expires in early 2021. Before taking over the top job at Visit Orlando, Aguel served at the Walt Disney Company for nearly 23 years, departing while he was a senior vice president. Visit Orlando’s board was to have met in order to discuss a transition plan, including the exact timing of Aguel’s departure.
Jennifer Wesselhoff has been named president and CEO of the Park City Chamber of Commerce & CVB. Wesselhoff joins the organization from the Sedona (Ariz.) Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, which she has served for 19 years, the past 13 as president and CEO. She’ll start new role in Park City—widely known as a premier U.S. ski destination and a host city for the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival—on Oct. 19.
New Orleans & Company has announced that Kelly Schulz, a 20-year public relations and communications veteran, will return to the organization as its senior vice president of communications and public relations effective Monday, September 21. Schulz replaces Kristian Sonnier, a 25-year public relations professional—expert in communications, marketing, media relations, media management and crisis communications, who held the position for more than five years. Sonnier led the overall rebranding efforts in 2018, turning New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau into New Orleans & Company. Schulz held the position for eight years before joining American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC), the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as vice president of communications in April 2014. She will rejoin the organization’s marketing and communications department led by Mark Romig, and will lead the four-person public relations team, half of whom were on Schulz’s team in 2014
Mélanie Joly, Canada’s minister of economic development and official languages, has announced the appointment of Marsha Walden as president and CEO of Destination Canada. Walden joins Destination Canada from Destination British Columbia where she served as the president and CEO since 2013. Destination Canada’s board of directors has extended its thanks to David Robinson, who led the organization as interim president and CEO for the past six months. The previous president and CEO of the organization, David Goldstein, stepped down from the job last November to join Gusto Worldwide Media as its chief operation officer.
The Greater Miami CVB has recognized Herb Sosa, executive director of Unity Coalition/Coalicion Unida (UC/CU) as a “Miamian Who Shines.” Under Sosa’s leadership, UC/CU created a Micro Giving fund to assist LGBTQ hospitality workers who have been impacted by the pandemic, providing them with financial support to help them pay their essential bills. Additionally, UC/CU continues to work with other organizations and community leaders to offer drive-up food distributions for those in need in the LGBTQ community. Sosa, who has been publisher for Ambiente magazine for 17 years, has been executive director of UC/CU since 2002.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) named Dave Hilfman as the organization’s interim executive director last month. Hilfman, who retired from United Airlines as senior vice president of worldwide sales in 2018, stepped into his new role mid-July.
The Long Beach CVB in California has hired Debbie Glenn as a national sales director, working remotely from Maryland. A seasoned tourism professional, Glenn served as sales director for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board for the past 14 years
In Brazil, Kelly Valim, a veteran of more than 20 years in tour and travel, including nearly 16 years at the tour operator Soul Traveler Viagens & Turismo, is joining the sales and marketing team of Orinter Tour & Travel in Rio de Janeiro, where she is already known by the travel trade. Valim will report directly to the regional director, Waldemir Junior, who previously took care of the Rio de Janeiro market. “Having a dedicated person for such an important market makes perfect sense and our customers who are there will have more of that strength”, comments Waldemir. Along with the hiring, the company says that it will take offers dedicated to the Rio de Janeiro trade with special opportunities, training, and customized training.
Deborah L. Cox has been promoted to the post of vice president at Castell Project Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining the Castell Project in 2018, Cox was a principal of Interacting Dynamics, a full-service consultancy focused on strategic and influencer marketing, corporate communication and merger integration. Previously, she was co-founder and principal of CoMass Group, an organization that designed and delivered programs to address issues of incivility and lateral violence within the healthcare community.
Chris Allen has been named product manager for JG Travel Group, which is the parent of National Holidays JG Travel Group, which bought National Holidays in July, also owns touring brands including Just Go! Holidays and Omega Breaks. A 30-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry, Allen was most recently as head of sporting breaks at National Holidays. Prior to that he worked for UK and Europe coach specialist Travelstyle until 2016 when it was acquired by National Holidays. In his new role, Allen will be responsible for product for short breaks, sporting breaks, family and tribute product development and delivery.