In a surprise move, Unique Vacations, Sandals Resorts International’s U.S. representative based in Miami, has named Ellen Bettridge (pictured) as president.
Bettridge, who will be based in Miami and begins Jan. 6, has spent less than two years as president-the Americas for Silversea Cruises.
Bettridge joined Silversea on March 19, 2012, based in the company’s Fort Lauderdale office.
Over the past 20 months she had revamped the sales and marketing team and begun major new travel agent programs for the luxury cruise line. She also helped introduce Silversea’s second expedition ship, Silver Galapagos. Last week she was in Cannes representing Silversea at the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM).
Silversea will reportedly replace Bettridge not with a new president-Americas, but with a general manager overseeing the Fort Lauderdale office.
Kristian Anderson, who is now vice president of sales and was hired by Bettridge, is being promoted to general manager and senior vice president of sales, reporting to Silversea CEO Enzo Visone in Monaco, where the cruise line is headquartered.
Prior to her stint with Silversea, Bettridge spent 20 years with American Express, starting as a travel agent and rising to become vice president of the American Express U.S. Retail Travel Network. She was recruited to become Silversea’s president-Americas at the ILTM in Cannes two years ago.
Unique Vacations had been looking for a new president since the departure of Kevin Froemming, who left to take a post with Hyatt Resorts’ new all-inclusive unit, which now includes Hyatt Zilara Cancun and Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos.
The company also recently hired Randy Russell as senior vice president-social commerce, also based in Miami. Presumably Russell will now report to Bettridge.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ellen Bettridge to the Sandals family,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts. “She is a person of incredible talent whose experience as a marketer, luxury brand expert and champion of travel agents, is perfectly aligned with our objectives of growth, innovation and excellence.”
Bettridge could not be reached for comment on her move to Sandals.