Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Wed April 01 2015

Welcome Aboard: New Hires and Promotions for April 1, 2015

Features & Advice | Barry Kaufman | April 01, 2015

Welcome Aboard: New Hires and Promotions for April 1, 2015

Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort Appoints Theo Schofield As General Manager

Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort announced the appointment of Theo Schofield as the new general manager. An industry veteran, Schofield has been with Omni Hotels & Resorts for more than 10 years.

He initially served as director of services at Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas near Dallas, and joins Omni Hilton Head from Omni Dallas Hotel at Park West where he also served as general manager.

Schofield received multiple awards throughout his career including Omni’s General Manager Marketing and RevPAR Achievement Award.

CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa Welcomes David Gauna as General Manager 

CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa welcomes David Gauna as general manager of the four-diamond luxury beachfront resort. With 20 years of experience under the Marriott brand, Gauna will focus on increasing guest satisfaction and exceeding expectations in the Puerto Vallarta hospitality market.

Gauna began his Marriott career in 1996 as a housekeeping supervisor at the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort. There, he held various positions including front office manager and director of room operations. Gauna moved on to resident manager of Los Suenos Marriott Ocean and Golf Resort in Costa Rica and then director of operations at the JW Marriott Mexico City, where his achievements and leadership helped him advance to general manager. In 2011, Gauna successfully opened the Courtyard by Marriott Mexico City Airport as general manager. In 2013, Gauna was awarded General Manager of the Year for the CALA Region as well as the Diamond General Manager Award for the Courtyard brand.

 Accor Names Balendra Nagesvaran as Vice President of Operations Luxury and Upscale Brands

Accor North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NCAC) region has announced the promotion of Balendra Nagesvaran to vice president of operations for Accor luxury and upscale brands in the region. Nagesvaran brings more than 27 years of experience in international hotel operations and management to his new position. Prior to his new role, Nagesvaran was vice president of hotel operations for North America and general manager of Sofitel New York.

Shangri-La Hotels And Resorts Appoints Sam Mcdiarmid To Lead Agency Sales Team For The Americas

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has announced the appointment of Sam McDiarmid to the role of director of business development, agency sales.
McDiarmid joins Shangri-La from the Plaza Hotel, New York, where he held the role of travel industry sales manager, handling the North American leisure, business travel and entertainment markets. Prior to his time at the Plaza Hotel, McDiarmid held several sales positions throughout the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, including a regional role representing the company’s three hotels in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. McDiarmid began his hospitality career with Marriott, where he held a variety of roles including a position within the Marriott global sales organization as group sales manager selling Marriott full service hotels in North and South Carolina, and West Virginia. His hotel career began as front desk agent at the Marriott City Center Charlotte, where he discovered his love of the hospitality industry.

Apple Leisure Group Makes Strategic Addition to Development Team

Apple Leisure Group continues to grow its development team with the recent appointment of Dominique Berthelot as director of development, Cancun. In her respective role, Berthelot will maintain existing ALG partnerships while fostering new opportunities throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America.

A 25-year veteran of the tourism industry, Berthelot’s expertise ranges from finance and new business development, to sales and marketing and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining Apple Leisure Group, Berthelot spent three years working for the Mexico Tourism Board, directing their Paris office. Additionally, she spent 22 years as regional director of Mexico for The Leading Hotels of the World.

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. Welcomes Petra Roach, Director, USA

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) has appointed Petra Roach as its new head of the USA.   

A driving force in the island’s tourism industry, Roach brings a wealth of travel experience and expertise to the market having previously held the position of vice president in the UK for 12 years. She recently led the organization as interim CEO during its transition period in the restructuring of BTA to the BTMI from May to October of 2014. 

Roach is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Travel and Tourism, and also sits on the board of the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship as well as Sport for Life UK.  She was previously a board director of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, UK Chapter and looks forward to active participation in the US division of CTO. 

Zack Zahran Appointed General Manager of The Kitano Hotel New York

The Kitano Hotel New York, Manhattan’s first and only Japanese-owned hotel, recently named Zack Zahran as general manager. Bringing more than 25 years of hotel management experience, Zahran will direct and supervise the day-to-day operations of the esteemed property, upholding the Kitano’s tradition of extraordinary Japanese hospitality.

Zahran’s management career began at The Peninsula New York where he rose through the ranks to resident manager. He then assisted in the development of The Gordon Ramsay operation at The London NYC and LA hotels. Zahran also served as general manager of the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel where he directed a complete re-construction of the property. Most recently, Zahran led an international hospitality consultancy where he provided management solutions for hotels and resorts.

Travel Impressions Welcomes Sheri Pasternak As Senior Director Of Field Sales

Sheri Pasternak has joined the Travel Impressions team as senior director of field Sales for the tour operator. Pasternak will be responsible for managing the Travel Impressions outside sales team to evolve and drive strong growth and unique customer opportunities while maintaining the award-winning service levels and high-quality product line for which the tour operator is renowned.

With more than 25 years of experience in the travel and cruise industry, Pasternak is ideally suited for her new role at Travel Impressions. She began her career as a corporate travel agent and soon thereafter was on the fast track with leadership roles at two major consortiums – GEM and Cruiselink. As the youngest president within the consortium industry, Pasternak played an integral role by launching the “first-ever” cruise consortium and was recognized as an innovator and sales leader with hundreds of travel agencies nationwide.

Kerzner International Appoints Two Executives

Kerzner International Holdings Limited announced that Ian Connolly has been promoted to chief development officer and Paul Macpherson named as executive vice president, global business and real estate development. These executives will support the strategic worldwide growth of Kerzner International, including the iconic Atlantis resorts that are the ultimate in entertainment destinations, and the ultra-luxury One&Only Resorts.

Connolly joined Kerzner International in 2005 as vice president, commercial, where he was integrally involved in every aspect of the design and development of Atlantis, The Palm and also assisted in contractual and commercial elements in the development of One&Only Cape Town and Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort.  Connolly was promoted in 2010 to senior vice president, development and facilities where he also took responsibility for the development of all new resorts including Atlantis, Sanya Hainan and multiple One&Only resorts.  In 2014, he was promoted to executive vice president, development and facilities, overseeing the extensive renovation of the iconic private island resort added to the One&Only collection, One&Only Hayman Island, and the new Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences in Dubai.

Macpherson has been named executive vice president, global business and real estate development and will drive the business development strategy to continue the global expansion of Kerzner International's brands. Macpherson joins Kerzner International with over 30 years in the hospitality and financial segments. Most recently, he was with Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants International where, as president and managing director, he implemented the 10-year international expansion strategy for Premier Inn hotels.  He built that company's international presence, as well as established a robust development pipeline spanning from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia.

Occidental Hotels & Resorts Names Maridol Ortiz-Perez As Director Of Group Sales, Meetings & Incentives U.S.

Occidental Hotels & Resorts, marketed in the U.S. by Allegro Resorts Marketing Corporation,is pleased to announce the appointment of industry veteran Maridol Ortiz-Perez as the director of group sales, meetings and incentives U.S. In her new role, Maridol is responsible for overseeing group bookings, planning and executing large events, and managing relationships with clients.

Maridol brings more than 20 years of sales experience in the luxury hotel market, and a fresh perspective to Occidental’s team. She was most recently the director of group sales at Casa deCampo, a member of Leading Hotels of the World and Preferred Hotels Group. Maridol has also held additional positions at Casa de Campo including the group sales manager and wedding specialist. With robust international experience and her bilingual background in English and Spanish, Maridol brings a distinct set of skills and knowledge to the Occidental team.

Former President Of HEDNA, Tiffany Topcik, Appointed VP Of Business Development For The Americas

HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts, a leading global hotel representation company, has announced the appointment of Tiffany Topcik as VP of Business Development in the Americas, as the company plans its expansion to the U.S. market.

Topcik, a senior executive with more than 20 years’ experience, is a well-known figure in the travel industry. The former President of HEDNA (The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association), Topcik has had an accomplished career having served as a senior executive in top travel companies including Hickory Global, CCRA Travel Solutions, ABC Corporate Services and Lanyon. Other posts include participation on the advisory board for the New York University Tisch School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management; as well as featured speaker on several industry conferences around the world. Topcik will now join HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts, a leading global hotel representation company head-quartered in the UK, as the company plans to target the American market.

Montage Hotels & Resorts Appoints Kacey Bruno As Corporate Director, Communications

Montage Hotels & Resorts, has announced the appointment of Kacey Bruno as corporate director, communications. Bruno is responsible for creating, implementing and sustaining a strategic communications program that supports the company's vision and business interests across the Montage Hotels & Resorts brand.

Bruno has extensive public relations and communications experience, much of which she earned at Montage Hotels & Resorts, as she joined Montage Laguna Beach as director of public relations in early 2007 and added Montage Beverly Hills to her responsibilities in 2010. Along the way, Bruno has been instrumental in broadening the visibility of the Montage brand through print, online, broadcast and entertainment integration opportunities.

American Express Global Business Travel Names Philippe Chérèque Chief Commercial & Technology Officer And Steve Curts Chief Strategy Officer

American Express Global Business Travel (“GBT”) has announced that Philippe Chérèque has been appointed to expand his remit from chief technology officer to chief commercial and technology officer. In addition, Steve Curts, who was senior vice president, internal business systems, has been appointed to the newly-created role of chief strategy officer.  

Chérèque joined GBT as chief technology officer in September 2014. He previously held the role of executive vice president of commercial at Amadeus Technology Group SA, where he led the worldwide implementation of Amadeus Technology’s commercial strategy. Prior to that, Chérèque served as the senior vice president of corporate strategy, responsible for driving and coordinating the company’s business development, marketing, technical architecture and product plan. He was one of the founders of Amadeus Global Travel Distribution S.A.

Curts joined GBT as senior vice president, internal business systems in May 2014. He was previously vice president, Dell Services, services delivery, at Dell. In his roles at Dell, Curts led strategic operations to revitalize Dell’s Infrastructure and Cloud Computing Healthcare Industry Group. Prior to that, he held several senior leadership positions within Perot Systems, including leading the Commercial Solutions Group.

Michael Duve named group sales account director for West Coast and Florida accounts at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel has appointed Michael Duve group sales account director. In his new role, Duve will be responsible for the supervision of West Coast corporate and association accounts and Florida association accounts.

Duve brings nearly 20 years of group sales experience to the hotel, previously working with brands such as Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott and Marriott. He is a graduate of Kirchenpauer Gymnasium in Hamburg, Germany, and holds a Hospitality Management Diploma from the American Hotel & Motel Lodging Association’s Educational Institute. Duve is fluent in German.

Oetker Collection Names Linda Linzetto Associate Head Of Sales North America For The Lanesborough And Oetker Collection

Oetker Collection announces the appointment of Linda Linzetto as associate head of sales for The Lanesborough and Oetker Collection North America based in New York. Linzetto will report in to Paula McColgan, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Lanesborough and Caroline Goux, Head of Sales and Marketing North America for Oetker Collection. Her role will be to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. travel trade, the Oetker Collection and the soon to open Lanesborough in London.  

Linzetto brings with her more than 20 years of hotel industry experience. She started her career with Trans National Travel in Boston then moved on to Travel Impressions in New York. In 2003 Linzetto joined The Mandarin Oriental Hotel group as director of travel industry where she spent nine years. Most recently Linzetto was based at Highgate’s first luxury lifestyle Hotel “The Quin” in New York City.

Accor Names Cyril Kovarsky Senior Vice President of Global Sales

Accor, the world's leading hotel operator, has announced the appointment of Cyril Kovarsky to senior vice president of global sales effective April 1, 2015. He will be responsible for defining and coordinating Accor's B-to-B sales strategy for all segments (large corporate accounts, event agencies, airlines, travel agents, and tour operators).

Most recently, Kovarsky served as senior vice president corporate sales for business services at French multinational telecommunications corporation, Orange, and was in charge of 50,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises and large national accounts. Prior to that, he held positions including CEO of Orange Promotion; director of retail distribution; and head of Orange retail stores in Paris and the Ile de France region. A graduate of ESG Management School in France, Kovarsky joined Orange in 2000 as sales director for the B-to-B segment in Paris. 



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