Former Kuoni senior sales operations manager Brad Bennetts is joining easyJet Holidays—it is the eighth largest tour operator in the UK, based on ATOL figures—as head of distribution, replacing Si Morris-Green who is leaving the operator Bennetts left Kuoni in August following a strategic review and staff consultation triggered by the COVID-19 crisis.
John De Fries has been named the new president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). De Fries, who began his new job on September 16, is the first native Hawaiian appointed as HTA’s president and CEO, and was chosen from a pool of more than 300 candidates for the job. He replaces Chris Tatum, who retired after a 40-year travel industry career on Aug. 31. De Fries, who was born and raised in Waikiki and resides in Kona, formerly headed the Department of Research and Development for the County of Hawaii, which is charged with stimulating economic growth in tourism, agriculture and renewable energy.
Destination management company Discova has appointed Tom Grapes as business development manager for the UK and Europe. Grapes will start his new role earlier this month, having worked most recently for the Flight Centre Travel Group, where he was Asia product manager. Discova currently operates in 14 countries in Asia, as well as Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. In March, the DMC appointed former Intrepid head of industry sales Andrew Turner as global director of sales.
Erica Muhlemanhas been named executive vice president of new business development/marketing & sales at the Canton, Ohio Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company (HOFV). Muhleman brings to HOFV extensive knowledge of corporate sponsorships, sales and marketing, and community and public relations accumulated from her over two decades of experience working in the sports and entertainment industries, including a tenure at Pegula Sports and Entertainment. She has worked directly with corporate leadership executives and business partners within professional sports organizations such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League. Prior to Pegula Sports and Entertainment, Muhleman served as vice president of corporate partnerships for the Buffalo Bills. Earlier in her career, she worked as manager of marketing services for the Cleveland Browns.
Cheryl Hargrove has left her position as director of industry & partner relations at Explore Georgia, part of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and will focus her attention on her public relations and consulting firm, Hargrove International. Hargrove had worked for Georgia for more than six years. Previously, she held senior positions at the National Geographic Society and at Travel South USA.
Lucy Hathaway has been appointed chief sales officer at travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance. As chief sales officer, Hathaway will lead the organization’s efforts to strengthen and evolve its long-standing partnerships across its key distribution channels, while securing new business relationships. Hathaway brings 25 years of insurance industry experience to her new role in the areas of strategic planning, business development and financial management. She has held senior leadership positions at Travelers Canada and RSA Canada that included responsibility for developing and executing national underwriting and distribution strategies.
Jennifer Catto is the new chief marketing officer at Travelport. An award-winning marketing executive with two decades of leadership experience at both fast-growth and established companies, Catto was most recently chief marketing officer of Telaria, a data-driven software platform designed to monetize and manage premium video inventory. During her four years with the company, she launched the Telaria brand and, within 24 months, successfully established it as the recognized leader in connected television.
Diogo Elias is the new director of sales and marketing at Latam Airlines Brazil. Latam provides service from a number of Brazilian cities to the USA. Elias, who has an MBA from the University of Michigan, previously worked at Microsoft, Magazine Luiza and Itaú
EasyJet has named TUI Group’s aviation boss, Kenton Jarvis, as its new chief financial officer, where he will team up again with chief executive Johan Lundgren, who was also a former TUI executive before taking the helm of EasyJet three years ago. Jarvis will replace Andrew Findlay, who EasyJet earlier this year said plans to step down as CEO next May. EasyJet says it will provide an update on Jarvis’ start data in due course. Jarvis joined TUI in 2003 and is currently chief executive of aviation and business improvement director of markets at the travel group. He was formerly finance director of Airtours Holidays.
Gerald Kassner, owner and managing director of the German tour Operator Schauinsland Reisen, has been named Travel Industry Manager of the year 2020. The Travel Industry Club (TIC) annually honors special achievements by tourism managers. The company was founded in 1918 by Erich Kassner, the grandfather of Gerald.
Claudia Batten, an experienced U.S.-based technology executive, is the new chair of Serko Limited, a New Zealand-headquartered company that helps companies drive down the cost of their travel program using smart technology, and making the process of booking and managing travel and reconciling expenses a positive experience. Batten welcomed the announcement from her Los Angeles base, commenting: “As a founder, entrepreneur and manager of people I have personally experienced the frustration of current business travel and expense solutions. We have big ambitions for our products, despite the current macroeconomic conditions, and we are committed to continuing to build for the future of travel and expense.”
Nigel Fell has been named chief commercial officer for The World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage, which is headquartered near Sydney, Australia. Fell, a UK national, is a multi award-winning destination and business development strategist who has served for some of Europe’s largest and best-known travel organizations, including tour operators and not-for-profit associations. For more than 20 years, Fell has worked with governments, tourist boards and major tour operators to develop, implement and manage tourism strategies. In addition, Fell is a qualified trainer and has worked to upskill and mentor business owners around the world.
After 15 years at the helm of the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO), Pierre LePage has stepped down as the organization’s executive director. Widely known in the Canadian travel and tourism industry, LePage previously served for nearly two decades in national sales for Thomas Cook.