Conroy Steps Down as Regent Seven Seas President; Kamlani Named President
By James Shillinglaw
October 02, 2012 5:56 PM
Mark Conroy, the longtime president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC), the luxury cruise line, will step down effective Jan. 13, 2013. In a surprise announcement, Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH), RSSC’s parent, said Conroy will now serve as an advisor to Frank Del Rio, PCH’s chairman and CEO, and Kunal Kamlani, president and chief operating officer, on a series of “core business strategies.” PCH also is parent company for Oceania Cruises.
Conroy has served as president of RSSC since 1992, making him the longest tenured top cruise executive in the industry. He also is widely liked and respected by top travel agents around the country. He began his executive cruise career as director of group sales and passenger services at Norwegian Cruise Line, then known as Norwegian Caribbean Line from 1973-1982. He then served as vice president of sales for Royal Viking Line from 1982 to 1987. He then was named president and CEO of Commodore Cruises from 1987-1988. He served as president of Renaissance Cruises from 1988 to 1992.
“Mark is a true professional and respected cruise industry expert who has been the guiding force behind Regent Seven Seas Cruises and its success since the very beginning,” Del Rio said. “His insights into travel agent and guest relations, product development, and sales and marketing strategies have been and will continue to be an invaluable asset across our portfolio of brands.”
For his part, Conroy said he was looking forward to his new advisory role and taking a step back for his daily responsibilities and the heavy travel involved in running a cruise business. “I enter my new role with the confidence that the day-to-day running of the company is in the capable hands of a seasoned team,” he said.
Effective Jan. 31, 2013, Kamlani will become president of RSSC in addition to his current responsibilities as president of Oceania. Kamlani praised Conroy for leading an “incredible” team that is known for consistently delivering an ultra-luxury experience that is second to none. “I look forward to continuing our focus on our onboard product and service excellence that our guests have come to expect,” he said.
In addition, veteran RSSC executive Randall Soy has been promoted to executive vice president of sales and marketing, reporting to Kamlani. In his new role, Soy will be directly responsible for all marketing, sales and e-commerce strategies for RSSC. Soy is the company’s longest-tenured employee at more than 22 years. He began his career with Seven Seas Cruise Line in 1990 and has held a variety of progressive senior roles, including director of national accounts and group sales, vice president of channel sales and most recently served as senior vice president of sales. While at RSCC, he initiated the company’s first Business Development Manager Team, launched the brand’s Seven Seas Council top producer program, and expanded the company’s investment and resources for national and key accounts.
“We have one of the best teams in the industry,” Del Rio said. “In a little more than a year since he rejoined the company, Kunal has successfully delivered many of the innovations that have benefited our guests and travel agent partners alike including the company’s new anti-rebating policy across both brands, the expansion of our Oceania Club loyalty program and the successful launch of the second new vessel in the company’s history.”
In an email message to travel agents, Conroy noted that the last few years have been nothing short of spectacular for RSSC. “Despite a difficult economic environment, we have sailed virtually full for the past two years while achieving the highest yields in the industry,” he said. “These results are a testament to the strength of our mutual partnerships and the powerful value proposition of providing the most inclusive luxury cruise experience in the world.”
Conroy said RSSC has come a long way since it launched the Radisson Diamond in 1992. “Since then, we have built the best management and sales and marketing teams in the industry,” he said. “We have also retained the best officers and crew at sea who deliver the luxury cruise experience that your clients have come to expect from us 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.”
Conroy said he recently sat down with Del Rio and Kamlani to discuss how they could leverage the talent within PCH to benefit their two brands, RSSC and Oceania. “At that time, I also expressed my desire to be instrumental in shaping larger strategic initiatives while cutting back on the day-to-day responsibilities of running an international cruise line and the extensive travel that comes with the job,” Conroy said. “Therefore at the end of January next year, I will step down as president of RSSC and become an executive advisor to both Frank and Kunal on a series of corporate-wide business strategies across both brands. While RSSC will always be a part of who I am, this is the right time for me personally to take a broader role in this exciting industry.”
Reached by email, Conroy said he is very happy with the changes being made. “While I will not be involved in the day to day running of the company after Jan. 31, I will still be part of it strategically and, of course, emotionally," he said.