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



1. Justin Michael joins Travellers Choice in new GM Finance role

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Travellers Choice is pleased to announce an expansion of its senior management team with the appointment of Justin Michael to the newly-created position of General Manager Finance & Administration.

Michael brings more than 20 years’ experience of the travel, aviation and financial services sectors to the new position. Previous roles include Chief Financial Officer for Skywest Airlines and State Manager for Flight Centre in Western Australia.

Michael also spent two years in Canada working for Flight Centre North America as Senior Financial Controller, Business Services, Product and Marketing.

Travellers Choice Managing Director Christian Hunter says the appointment further broadens the skill set within the company.

“Justin offers a valuable combination of financial and travel industry expertise,” says Hunter. “His appointment also completes our senior management group, which now includes respected leaders in the fields of sales, marketing and finance.

“By expanding the senior leadership group we are ensuring Travellers Choice has the ideal platform to fully support our members and position the company for ongoing growth.”


2. Silvano Dressino appointed as GM of Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay

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Marriott International is pleased to announce the appointment of Silvano Dressino as the General Manager for Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, which is slated to open in April, 2017.

In his role, Silvano will oversee all pre-opening activity, ensuring the highly anticipated resort opens on time and to great success. He will also be responsible for the resorts day-to-day operations, driving all aspects of execution with respect to project management, budget preparation, brand compliance and recruitment.

“I am thrilled to continue my journey with Marriott International as general manager of Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay,” he said.

“I have been part of the Marriott family for over 20 years so it’s a great honour to be asked to open the first Marriott branded resort in Fiji. In terms of next steps, I’m looking forward to recruiting a strong team to help me establish this resort as a popular destination for both leisure and business travellers alike.”

Silvano started his career with Marriott International in 1996 as assistant to the regional public relations manager at the Marriott Regional Office in Eschborn, Germany. Working for Marriott International has allowed Silvano to pursue various roles in international markets, including general manager at Shanghai Pudong Hotel, China, resident manager at JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong and director of reservation sales at Munich Marriott Hotel.

Most recently, Silvano was interim general manager at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, where he successfully managed the pre-opening activity of the 634 room, flagship property, which is due to open in December, 2016. Prior to this, Silvano was general manager for JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya, where he initiated a wide range of customer service initiatives and achieved a 10% year-on-year growth in guest satisfaction scores.

As General Manager for Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, Silvano will report into Sean Hunt, area vice president, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific at Marriott International.


3. Pedro Heilbron elected as new Chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board

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Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Holdings and of Copa Airlines, has been elected as the new Chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board (CEB). He succeeds Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada, who held the post for the last four years.

Speaking on behalf of all Star Alliance CEOs, Heilbron said: “I would like to thank Calin for the time he invested and his dedication to the role of CEB Chairman. His four year tenure came at a crucial time in the Alliance’s development, during which the organisation moved from a strategy of membership growth to one of greater cohesion and the delivery of more integrated, modern products”.

In his role as CEB Chairman, Heilbron will conduct the two annual board meetings and act as the designated spokesperson for the board.

Reflecting on his tenure, Rovinescu commented: “It was an honour for me to lead the board at a time of challenging market conditions for the entire airline industry. Pedro’s vast experience and standing make him an excellent choice to the lead the CEB into the Alliance’s 20th anniversary year and beyond”.

Heilbron said: “I am looking forward to working with the board over the next two years in fostering further commercial cooperation among the member carriers. We will continue to focus on delivering a seamless travel experience and maintaining the loyalty of customers through superior service and convenience”.

All 28 member airlines are represented by their respective CEO on the CEB, which acts as the controlling body of the Alliance and provides the overall strategic direction.


4. Centara Grand Beach Resorts and Villas Krabi welcomes new GM

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Centara Hotels & Resorts announces the transfer of Mr. Darren Shaw, former General Manager of Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket as the new General Manager of Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi, effective from December 9, 2016.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Mr. Shaw has more than 19 years of experience working in the hospitality industry. He started his career with Centara Hotels and Resorts in February 2012 as General Manager at Centara Karon Resort Phuket.

With his in-depth knowledge in all operational aspects, coupled with his excellent performance, Mr. Shaw was promoted as Area General Manager and transferred to oversee the management of Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, the luxurious resort set directly on Karon Beach, while also being responsible for Centara Villas Phuket and Centra Ashlee Patong in December 2013, before taking on his new role at the stunning Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi which is nestled in its very own bay surrounded by dramatic limestone cliffs.


5. Mantra Group announces key team appointments

Leading accommodation provider, Mantra Group, has announced a number of key appointments within its management team across its portfolio of Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree properties.

The movements have provided opportunities for new and existing employees to move into management positions and diversify their product knowledge.

Todd Heal, recently Executive Assistant Manager at Mantra on View Hotel in Surfers Paradise, has been appointed the General Manager of Mantra Broadbeach on the Park. Todd has been with the group for seven years and brings considerable experience and industry knowledge.

Andrew Walling has taken the position of General Manager at Mantra on Jolimont in Melbourne after two years as General Manager at Mantra City Central, Melbourne. Over the past two years, Andrew drove growth within the hotel after a major refurbishment and rebrand. His efforts culminated earlier this year when he was the recipient of the Profit Award at Mantra Group’s annual awards in recognition of his and his teams’ success.

Other movements within the Victorian region sees Jeremy Mossman take over the position of General Manager at Mantra St Kilda Road. Over the past two years, Jeremy has been further developing his leadership skills and strategic capabilities during his tenure as Hotel Manager at Mantra on Russell.

Also joining Mantra Group is Christopher Chew who has been appointed as General Manager of BreakFree Eco Beach, Byron Bay. Chris has a strong hospitality background and has previous experience in management roles. In addition to his passion for hospitality, he holds a degree in accounting and business management and is joining the Group from BrookFarm in Byron Bay where he was in the position of Assistant Accountant.

Hayden Edgtton has been appointed as the General Manager of Peppers Soul, Surfers Paradise. Hayden joins the Group with more than 20 years international experience including launching two new hotels in Dubai and New Zealand. He has a proven record of successful commercial management and an extensive food and beverage background. Hayden will commence at Peppers Soul on December 19.

Outside of Operations, Tim Bridgman has been appointed to the role of Regional Financial Controller Vic/Tas. Tim joins Mantra Group from Delaware North where he’s been the Commercial Manager within its Australian Parks and Resorts division.  Tim will be based at Mantra on Little Bourke and will be a true asset to the finance team.

Matt Borger, currently the Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for the NSW/ACT region, will take over the role of Director of Trade Sales early next year following a move to the Gold Coast. Matt will take charge of Mantra Group’s trade sales teams and brings with him a wealth of knowledge after eight years in a similar role at Accor and Mirvac Hotels.

Matt’s relocation allows for Emma Jones, currently the Group’s Senior National Account Manager – Corporate, to move into the role of Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for NSW/ACT.

These appointments signify a period of strong growth for the company.

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