Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Tony Fernandes Steps Down as Acting Group CEO of AirAsia X

1 month ago

Tony Fernandes has stepped down as the acting group CEO of Capital A’s long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X citing “other commitments,” the airline announced in a note to investors on Monday.

“I’m now going to focus on delivering significant value to shareholders of Capital A, including the AirAsia Aviation Group, aviation services, logistics, travel, fintech and the e-commerce lifestyle platform,” Fernandes said in a press statement.

Having served as the non-independent non-executive director of AirAsia X, Fernandes stepped in to the role of acting group CEO in July this year.

Mahmood Fawzy has now been appointed as the independent non-executive director of Thai AirAsia X.

AirAsia X had entered a court-overseen debt restructuring process during the pandemic. The airline completed the debt restructuring in March.

Fernandes, in a press statement, mentioned that his job had been to restart AirAsia X and bring it back to profitability and growth after the hibernation. “I am happy that this has been accomplished with a very edifying plan for 20 aircraft for the AirAsia XGroup — 13 aircraft for AirAsia X and seven for Thai AirAsia X.”

He went on to note that following the restructuring the airline has improved the cost structure, and created a cargo business, which has contributed about 20 percent to the airline’s revenue during the pandemic and will continue to play a vital role in its recovery.

The airline in a statement in August had noted that it would be ramping up flight frequencies and would return to daily services to most destinations before 2023, with optimised aircraft utilisation of 15 hours by December.

Hotels

Loews Hotels to Promote Alex Tisch to CEO, Succeeding Cousin Jon Tisch

1 month ago

Loews Corporation said that on January 1 CEO Alex Tisch would become president and CEO of its chain of 25 luxury properties, Loews Hotelssucceeding his cousin once removed Jon Tisch, who will become executive chairman and remain co-chairman of the board.

Alex, a fourth-generation member of the family, joined Loews Hotels in 2017 and was named president in September 2020. He has sped up Loews Hotels’ growth by adding properties, including an 800-room property in Kansas City, Missouri, and developing key partnerships in Arlington, Texas. Alex also helped to boost the metabolism of its commercial group, the company said.

He’ll succeed Jon Tisch, who has been an officer of Loews since 1986.

“In his 43 years at Loews Hotels, Jon has engineered the company’s expansion and emergence as a leading hotel business,” said James Tisch, Loews Corporation president and CEO, during an earnings call with analysts on Monday. “In particular, Jon was instrumental in building Loews Hotels’ long-standing partnership in Orlando with Universal Studios while also having the foresight to develop the iconic Loews Miami Beach Hotel.’

The November opening of a 242-room Coral Gables hotel will mean Loews Hotels will have about 10,000 rooms in the South Florida market and about 16,500 guest rooms across the country.

Loews Hotels & Co’s net income for the three months ended September 30, rose $12 million year-over-year to $25 million.

“The hotel properties at the Universal Orlando Resort contributed meaningfully to the period-over-period improvement,” the company said.

Surfside Inn and Suites at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. Source: Loews Hotels.

Hotels

Four Seasons Names New CEO Alejandro Reynal in Push to Be More Data Savvy

2 months ago

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts said on Monday it had appointed Alejandro Reynal CEO and president as the luxury hotel management company seeks to improve its use of data to enhance performance.

Reynal most recently was president and CEO of Apple Leisure Group, a resort company Hyatt acquired in the past year. But intriguingly he has expertise in applying data-based approaches to businesses, having previously held top positions at Atento, a global customer relationship management firm, and Telefonica, a telecom.

“Throughout his career, Alejandro has led and inspired global teams to embrace innovation, leverage the power of data and insights, and deliver top financial performance and value to both investors and customers,” said Michael Larson, chief investment officer of Cascade Investment, in a statement. Larson is the money manager who calls the shots in the fund, which holds the personal investment assets of billionaire Bill Gates.

In the past year, Cascade has increased its stake in Four Seasons, and now holds a 71 percent stake in the company. It has said it wants the lodging company to boost its uses of the latest technologies to enhance performance.

“I have a deep admiration for Four Seasons and the more than 50,000 people around the world who make this company so special,” said new CEO Reynal on LinkedIn. “I look forward to leading this exceptional organization into the future as we seize the opportunities ahead and continue to deliver best-in-class experiences for our guests, residents, partners and all who connect with our brand.”

Airlines

Southwest CEO Robert Jordan to Become the Airline’s President, Too

2 months ago

In a securities filing on Thursday, Southwest Airlines said Bob Jordan would succeed to the position of President of the company on January 1, 2023, while also retaining the role of CEO he has had since earlier this year.

Jordan, a 34-year-old veteran of the company, will step into a role being vacated by Michael G. Van de Ven, president and chief operating officer, who submitted his resignation.

Andrew M. Watterson will rise to the position of chief operating officer as of October 1. 

Hotels

Jumeirah CEO Steps Down, Thomas Meier Named Interim CEO

3 months ago

Jumeirah Group CEO José Silva said in a company email he would step down. Thomas Meier, named chief operating officer last year, will be interim CEO, as Hotelier Middle East first reported on Thursday.

For five years, Silva led the Dubai-based hotel group, championing a scale up worldwide. Silva also led a refresh of the company’s offerings, including the planned launch of the ultra-luxury Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab, Dubai, that’s expected to open in late 2023.

Meier previously worked at Minor Group and Fairmont Raffles Hotels.

See Hotelier Middle East for more

Tags: ceos, jumeirah

Hotels

Premier Inn Owner Whitbread Names Dominic Paul New CEO

5 months ago

Premier Inn’s owner Whitbread said on Wednesday that it has named Dominic Paul as its new CEO, to succeed Alison Brittain, who has “decided to retire from full-time executive life” at the end of the year.

Brittain had steered UK-based budget brand Premier Inn for a half-dozen years, including through the shoals of the pandemic, while also helping parent company Whitbread sell its popular Costa Coffee chain to Coca-Cola. Brittain has also been the rare woman worldwide in a CEO role of a hospitality company.

“It has been an enormous privilege to lead Whitbread during a period of significant expansion for our well-loved brands, in both the UK and in Germany,” said Alison Brittain in a statement. “The business has recovered from the pandemic well ahead of expectations and is continuing to trade strongly and gain market share.”

Mr Paul most recently served as CEO of Domino’s Pizza Group and was previously a managing director of Costa Coffee for three years, and was also a top exec at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

Airlines

Global Airlines Group Appoints First-Ever Female Chair

6 months ago

The International Air Transport Association‘s board of governors has appointed RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo to serve as its chair, making her the first woman ever to lead the global airline agency.

Makolo, who has led RwandAir since 2018, will serve a one-year term as IATA’s chair from June 2023, succeeding Mehmet Tevfik Nane, the managing director of discount Turkish carrier Pegasus. Nane took over the role of IATA chair from JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes on June 20 during the organization’s annual general meeting.

Makolo is one of the few women holding a senior role at a major airline. IATA estimates that close to 9 percent of airline CEOs are women.

Yvonne Manzi Makolo

Hotels

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Announces New CEO

6 months ago

Marriott Vacations Worldwide said on Thursday that CEO Stephen Weisz will retire at year-end and that current president, John E. Geller, Jr., will assume the role of president and CEO on January 1, 2023.

Weisz served in the role of CEO since the company spun out in 2011. He notably led the 2018 acquisition of ILG and the rollout of a guest loyalty program.

Geller has been president since 2021 and was previously the company’s chief financial officer. He also helped lead the spin-off of the company from Marriott International in 2011 and played a key role in the acquisition of ILG.

Hotels

Travelodge Names New CEO Jo Boydell

6 months ago

Craig Bonnar resigned this month as CEO of Travelodge. and yesterday the UK’s second-largest hotel chain after Premier Inn, appointed Jo Boydell, its one-time chief financial officer, to the top role.

Bonnar had been the top boss of the budget hotel chain since late 2020, steering the company through the turbulence of the pandemic.

Boydell has been with Travelodge since 2013 in a variety of finance roles.

Travelodge’s new CEO is Jo Boydell. Source: Travelodge

Tourism

New Visit Philly CEO Named

7 months ago

Visit Philadelphia has announced it’s appointed Angela Val to serve as its president and CEO, making her the first Black woman ever to run the organization.

Val, who will start her new roles on June 27, has extensive experience in Philadelphia’s tourism and hospitality industry. She is making her return to Visit Philadelphia, where she worked for 17 years before leaving to become chief administrative officer at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, a position she held for four years. Val is the current chief operating officer at Tempest, a marketing agency that helps destination marketing organizations work with local communities.

She also recently concluded her role as the executive director of Ready. Set. Philly!, an initiative between the City of Philadelphia and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia that was launched to spark the city’s economic recovery from the pandemic.  

“I am thrilled to return to Visit Philadelphia as president and CEO, so I can give back to a city and organization that has given me so much,” Val said in a statement.

“As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, I look forward to working with our partners to build back the tourism industry, reinvigorate the economy and restore the vibrancy of Philadelphia, which is so essential to attracting leisure travelers.”

Val will succeed Jeff Guaracino, who passed away last December following a battle with cancer.

Credit: Visit Philadelphia

Read Visit Philadelphia's Press Release

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