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Who were this week's travel industry movers & shakers?

Who got a new gig this week? Check out this week’s travel industry movers & shakers.

Who got a new gig this week? Check out this week’s travel industry movers & shakers.



1. W Retreat & Spa – Maldives welcomes new GM

travel industry W Hotels feature

W Retreat & Spa – Maldives has appointed a new General Manager, Anton Birnbaum

Hailing from Austria, Anton will be responsible for the overall operation of W Retreat & Spa – Maldives, providing strategic leadership to his new team and delivering the distinguished W experience to the hotel guests and clients.

Among other responsibilities, Anton will oversee implementation of the retreat’s annual business plan, annual operational and capital budgets, marketing and guest satisfaction.

Prior to this role, Anton served eight years as Executive Assistant Manager at Le Méridien Vienna, where he began his hospitality career as Director of Human Resources. Before joining the Starwood team, Anton worked for notable brands including T-Mobile, DO & CO and SPAR in Austria.

During his time with Le Méridien Vienna, Anton supervised the development of the Food & Beverage department and functioned as a key hotel contact for major events including Life Ball, Fashion Check-in, Vienna Fashion Week, Afterhours, Vienna Art Fair and Vogue Fashion’s Night Out.

Anton also focused on the networking events in the B2B sector, as well as building relationships with hotel’s key suppliers and partners.


2. Meet Four Points by Sheraton’s new Executive Chef


Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour has announced an exciting appointment as the hotel continues to grow and establish a strong team ahead of the grand unveiling in June 2016.

The appointment of Australian chef Robert Sauer comes as the hotel nears the launch date for its new convention centre and selection of first-class dining venues.

With a love of interactive and innovative approaches, as well as local ingredients highlighting fresh in-season flavours, Robert will oversee the hotel’s culinary operations, including restaurant concepts, menu development, catering, banquets and in-room dining.

Bringing over 20 years’ experience and a diverse culinary background working across the globe from Alaska to Barcelona, Robert will lead his team to raise Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour’s profile as not only the new leading meetings venue in Australia, but also as a premier lifestyle and dining location.

Born and raised in Australia, Robert spent four years educating aspiring chefs about international commercial cookery, before leaving dry land to take an Executive Chef position at Celebrity Cruises. This role took Robert all over the world, where he learnt to cook using American and European produce and cooking techniques.

In his new role, Robert will report into David Fraser, General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour.


3. Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts welcomes Corporate Director of Spa

Todd Hewitt 2

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has appointed Todd Hewitt to the role of corporate director of spa.

From Shangri-La’s headquarters in Hong Kong, Hewitt will oversee the group’s CHI, The Spa and The Spa brands, and all health clubs in Shangri-La and Kerry properties worldwide.

Hewitt is one of 18 board members of the International SPA Association Foundation (ISPA), and with Hong Kong as his new base, he will be a key voice for the wellness industry in Asia. He is a certified aesthetician, massage therapist and fitness instructor, as well as a trained chef.

He joins Shangri-La from Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts where he held several leadership positions and was most recently Regional Spa Director overseeing ten extensive spas in the Americas. Honoured twice by Spa Finder as one of the “Top 10 Spa Directors Worldwide”, Hewitt has over 14 years of wellness experience including launching multi-million dollar spa facilities to business and product development skills, to creating luxury spa-oriented experiences for guests.


4. SALA Resorts & Resorts appoints new Senior Sales Manager

Khun Suwannasa Piwon

SALA Hospitality Group is pleased to announce that Khun Suwannasa Piwon has taken on the role of Senior Sales Manager, effective immediately.

Khun Suwannasa joins SALA Resorts and Spas with more than seven years of strong experience in the 5 stars hospitality industry having had stints with Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa and Zinc Invision Hospitality.

She will be based at the SALA Head Office in Bangkok and will report directly to the Group Director of Sales – Khun Benjaporn Magroodtong (Pla).

SALA Hospitality Group is one of Thailand’s most renowned luxury boutique hotel groups in Thailand with properties in Phuket, Koh Samui, Khao Yai, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Ayutthaya.


5. Viator names Anita Ngai General Manager for APAC region

Viator has announced the appointment of Anita Ngai to the newly created role of General Manager for the Asia Pacific region.

Ms. Ngai, who will be based in Viator’s San Francisco headquarters, will be responsible for widening Viator’s expanding global footprint across key regions in APAC including China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

Working closely with global Viator and TripAdvisor teams and taking into consideration the nuances of many of the travel markets in this region, Ms. Ngai will be focused on localising the customer experience and marketing approach, as well as improving the relevance of Viator’s product mix to an increasing number of sophisticated and independent outbound travellers.

Ms. Ngai will also be focused on identifying potential partnerships for Viator with Asia-based distribution platforms, potential affiliate partners, and other potential business opportunities.

Before joining Viator, Ms. Ngai was head of strategy and business development for The Link Asset Management Limited in Hong Kong where she led corporate strategy and digital business development for the largest retail REIT (real estate investment trust) in Asia.

From 2011 to 2014, Ms. Ngai held roles with Expedia’s Hotels.com, first as director of strategy, APAC, then as head of marketing for the region, responsible for online and offline marketing and strategy development and execution.

She was previously with McKinsey & Company in New York and Greater China, consulting for companies in travel and logistics, and consumer goods and retail sectors. Ms. Ngai earned her B.S. in civil engineering and minor in architecture from Cornell University, and her M.A. in international relations from Yale University.


6. Etihad appoints sponsorship manager for Australia

Etihad Airways is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Hawk as Sponsorship Manager – Australia.

Simon, who joins the team on Monday 21 March, based in Sydney, reports to Briony Trevethan in the airline’s Abu Dhabi HQ.

In this newly created role, Simon will be responsible for managing the airline’s sponsorship portfolio in Australia and maximising its investment in these partnerships.

Simon brings a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience to the Australian sponsorship team. His previous roles include Senior Manager, Partnerships at Australia Rugby Union; Senior Account Manager at MEC Access in UK; Account Manager at Havas Sports & Entertainment in UK; and Business Development Manager for Your Golf Travel, the world’s largest golf travel company.

Elizabeth Graham, the airline’s current Melbourne-based sponsorship executive, will report to Simon.

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